When I was a kid, my dad used to take my brother and me on long hikes through the woods and cow fields near our home. We called it the Cow Hike. We would set out after dinner to give my mother some peaceful time alone. We would find wild raspberries and moo at the cows. During the summer it was one of our favorite activities. What was strange about the Cow Hike was that every single time we went we would somehow get separated from my father. What was even stranger, though, was that we would often see him behind trees and such. Just for a fleeting moment we catch a glimpse of him. We would call out, but somehow he never would hear us. So, we would be forced to find our way home on our own. Yet as we approached civilization, he would reappear.
One night during dinner when I was a teenager, we were talking about old times and the Cow Hike. As I was thinking back, it hit me. I asked him, “You were hiding on purpose, weren’t you?” He smiled. My dad was testing us. He was hiding on purpose to see if we could find our way home without him. I was so shocked and angry, I didn’t speak to him at all the rest of the evening. The next day at school, I told my sad story of a cruel father to my friends.
Now, though, when I think about what he did and those long hikes, I find myself laughing and even grateful. The Cow Hike was a great bonding experience for my brother and me. We learned our way around those woods and fields. We learned to rely on one another. We learned not to be afraid when we thought we were lost.
I wonder what I’m doing now that will become my kids’ Cow Hike.
Laura Brown is a stay at home mom of two little ones. She happily holds the title of CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of her family. She blogs about her money-saving ways at Blessings in Bargains.