Editor's Note: Teddy Hayes took a break from collegiate studies to spend six months in Ecuador learning Spanish, salsa dancing, volunteering and traveling. He spent time bunking with family friends who were in the midst of a year long Ecuadoran adventure. Their goal: to provide their two young children the taste of another culture.
If I should have a daughter, I want her to have Piper’s confidence and big heart.
If I should have a son, I want him to be as curious and caring as Duncan. I want my kids to care for me as Piper and Duncan care for Matt and Diana. With brimming smiles, their eyes sparkle every time they see their parents. The tone of their voices lets you know they respect and listen to them.
If I should have a daughter, let her smile be as infectious as Piper’s. Let her want to sing and dance and beg for people to watch. Let my son be as interested in cooking as Duncan is, so that his future wife won’t be in as much trouble as mine will be. Let my kids laugh, sing, dance, and even pray together. Piper reads a chapter of the Bible to Duncan every morning.
Let my daughter be so infatuated with fairies that she’ll wake me up to let me know they came to the castle she built for them the night before. Let my kids use teamwork to build Legos and help each other to find the ball after I hide it for the millionth time. Let them love ice cream, candy and chocolate crepes! And let them tolerate broccoli, mushrooms, and everything I couldn’t when I was young.
Let them run from the Teddy Monster time and time and time again. Let them sprint and slide and tumble. Let them cry when they fall because they know I’ll be there. And let them cry when they lose their rock and see if anyone comes (Duncan!). When they buy their first carton of milk by themselves, I want them to be proud and tell Mommy about it.
Let them enjoy walking, hiking, and running. Let them be their own transportation to explore the world. Let them get lost and find their way home, but make some friends along the way.
I am very lucky to have a wonderful mother. These kids are lucky too. I love the sense of curiosity and exploration Matt and Di have instilled in them at such a young age. At 5 and 7, Duncan and Piper are living in Ecuador, learning Spanish, and making friends and memories that wouldn’t be possible in Minturn, Colorado. When this trip is over, these kids will have gone surfing, swung on vines, learned a second language and volunteered in the Amazon, all before entering third grade.
When I have kids, I hope they have the chance to experience life like Piper and Duncan: differently. Through someone else’s eyes. Through a different culture’s eyes. I hope their home state is happiness. And their first language is love. I hope that when I have kids, Piper and Duncan will be there to beat up on them. I hope my kids will affect Piper and Duncan in the way Piper and Duncan have affected me.
I hope my kids have as good of parents as Piper and Duncan do. I’m glad I do.
Let my kids punch me and pull on my hair as Piper and Duncan do. But let them wear more clothes than Piper and not take as long in the bathroom as Duncan. Let them enjoy Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Gumballs. Let them put on shows and make me laugh like Piper and Duncan.
But please, God, let them sleep longer, much longer, than Piper and Duncan.