An Ordinary Adventure

David Lintvedt - East Greenville, Pennsylvania
As heard on The Bob Edwards Show, June 3, 2011
David Lintvedt

As a boy, David Lintvedt dreamed of all the exotic adventures he wanted to have in his life. But as an adult, he discovered that real adventure came not from risky work or travel to foreign hot spots, but in being a single parent to his young daughter.

Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood

When I was a boy, I dreamed of the adventures I would have when I grew up. I wanted to be a cop, so I made up stories of fighting crime, saving people’s lives, and making a difference in the world. When I was in high school and college, I wanted to become a newspaper reporter. I imagined myself sending in stories from some conflict in Central America or the Middle East, telling the truth about what was happening in parts of the world where the truth is not always clear. At other times in my life, I have simply thought of just hitting the road, moving from place to place and taking each new day and each new place as an adventure, then writing about it.

My life did not turn out as I had imagined it. Instead of living a life of adventure, my life is very ordinary. I work at an office job, with an hour commute each way. I own an old house that demands a lot of attention. I pay most of my bills on time, go to church, and make sure there’s food in the refrigerator.

My life is good, but sometimes I feel a little sorry for myself for having traded a life of excitement for a life of quiet responsibility, holding down a job and raising my daughter. But, when I think about it, I realize that this is the adventure! What could be more challenging, more exciting than being a father? In my childhood dreams of adventure, I never imagined myself as a single parent, and I had no way of knowing how much of an adventure it would be.

Of course, I never planned on being a single father. When Hannah was born I thought I would be raising her with her mother, as a family. However, things did not turn out the way I thought they would, as our marriage faltered and then failed before my daughter had her third birthday. When it was clear that the marriage was over and we had to separate, I did not think twice about taking Hannah with me when I moved out to my own place.

I have found adventure in changing diapers, waking up to calm my daughter after a nightmare, and chasing loose hamsters in her room. There was adventure in the many trips to the doctor for earaches and runny noses, in vacation trips to the Badlands, and imaginary expeditions to hunt for bears or aliens. I also find adventure in going over homework assignments that confuse me almost as much as learning about the complicated social lives of teenage girls!

I believe that adventure is where you find it.

The adventure of being a single parent has been amazing, overwhelming, frustrating, and incredibly difficult, yet I can see no better way to have spent these years of my life. This experience has formed a strong bond between my daughter and me—a bond that may not have been created if life had taken a different turn. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to be a father, and I would not trade this experience for any of my boyhood dreams of adventure. This adventure is far more rewarding.

David Lintvedt was born in the Bronx, New York, then was adopted by a college professor and his wife who raised him in East Orange, New Jersey. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Upsala College and a master of divinity from the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. Mr. Lintvedt enjoys writing, reading, cycling, and volunteering at his church. He lives with his daughter, Hannah, along with two dogs and three cats in East Greenville, Pennsylvania.