"Awesome," I said to my son. "So you had a good time?" To which he answered the same exact pronouncement he has always made each and every time my spouse has taken the boys on an adventure, "It was the best day ever!"
However, the boys never, ever want to go on a Papa outing. They dimly recall the fear, pain, small injuries, and emotional trauma associated with "adventure time." My husband is always forced to bluster and insist until they capitulate. He laments this, groaning what all good fathers groan at such times, "I failed them. Where did I go wrong?"
Somehow they always come back in exaltation, having mastered something new and we can only assume death-defying. Then it's always "awesome." I think this is akin to the way women "forget" the pain of child birth and go ahead and have several more, as I did. Boys would never grow into men if they didn't have that nagging feeling that the adventures with Papa were going to be dicey, but worth the x-factors in exchange for bragging rights. I often stumble upon a whispered conversation, smothered laughter, among the boys that includes the words, "Remember that time Papa made us..."
My still boyishly handsome 48-year-old husband with his too-long-to-be-a-professional-adult blond hair, sails small terrifying boats in races come rain, shine, darkness, or leakage. We lived aboard a sailboat with the first two sons and sailed from New Jersey to the Gulf coast of Florida and lived like hippies for five years.
He rushes out to surf with dolphins that I think are sharks. When there's a hurricane he walks the boys to the river's edge to see the gleam off the teeth of the storm. He hikes, bikes and is the front page designer for a daily newspaper, which I see as the most life-threatening of his passions.
He and our four sons have a love/hate relationship over the outings and yard chores, as is common with strong male personalities all under one roof.