Editor’s Note: “Fatherhood On the Go” is the multi-part story of Remy Stevensen and his family. Please read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Also, consider donating to this cause (links removed, campaign over) to make Remy’s ride a success!
I had a big post planned. I was going to start off with “Well we’re not in Kansas anymore…” and I was going to say how awkward we felt in Kansas and our string of bad service and weather luck. I was going to tell you all about “D” an Afghanistan (and probably Iraq) War Veteran who like me is plagued with PTSD. And I was going to throw in a big spiel about how war freaking sucks and I cried for miles after meeting “D.” I was going to tell you all about our (way too long) vacation in Omaha, and yeah…
I have to be honest, this has been a difficult trip. In the forty-five days – 45 – we have been on the road, we have had a lot of hardships. Our longest mileage day totaled 95.6 miles. We’ve gone through so many diapers it’s astounding. We have lost over 50lbs in gear. We have ridden 1350 miles to date. And, unfortunately, somewhere around 184,500 children have died due to a lack of clean drinking water. I take that very seriously. I am not feeling that enough people care about the magnitude of that.
We are not just some curiosity for people’s amusement
If we had been riding for another cause or with/for a church I am willing to bet that we would have had a bigger response to our cause. Our family has been massively effected by cancer. My grandfather was taken by it, my wife survived it, her mom kicked its ass too! How many of you have been touched by one of its numerous forms? How many people have you lost because of it? But we ride for a much different cause. We ride because one in eight people on the planet doesn’t have access to clean drinking water. We can’t relate to that. We, with our two to four cups of 12.0z coffee in the morning. We with our flushing toilets, our 35 gallon hot water heaters and hour-long showers. We with plastic individually packaged bottles of water. We can’t relate to what it is like to not be able to have, next to air, life’s most basic fucking requirement!
We couldn’t fathom sending our children off in the morning to walk for miles, in god-knows-what, to collect our days ration of water. We couldn’t imagine what it would be like to just be lucky enough to have our kids go to school instead of bitching about the PTA and afterschool sports. We couldn’t imagine what it would be like to watch our children die in our arms because the water we have is infested with germs and pollution. We couldn’t relate so instead of turning a blind eye to them or talk a lot about how awful it is that those people so far away have to live that way, we did something. We gave up practically everything because we couldn’t understand a major issue in the world and we wanted to help.
Cait and I had been working on lowering out footprint on the environment. We have constantly been on this metamorphosis and we have changed so much that…we can’t relate to a lot of people now. We can’t imagine what it would be like to bitch about our favourite barista not being around when we knew we could stop going to the shop for a week, save that money just for that week and possibly give someone the gift of water, for two freaking DECADES, by donating the $20. We couldn’t imagine telling our kids there are starving kids in parts of the world and not doing anything to bring about the end of that tragedy. We can’t image hearing about our friends or family trying to better the world and we not help them.
So I am hoping that I can fill you all in on what it is like to be us and me since this is my “fatherhood.” I just can’t pull out another “Oh look how beautiful “Fatherhood-On-The-Go is” post.
Imagine, if you will…
…hauling your children across your state, never mind the whole country, let’s start with your state. Instead of going 60 miles an hour you go, max, 16. Because this trip isn’t just some fancy-free, picturesque ride around the block. This is more like throw two of your kids on back, carry four bags of heavy groceries up a huge hill, against the wind, in the sun, rain and cold. EVERDAY! FOR HOURS!!! Yes days, because with kids you’re average daily mileage will be about 60 miles. Instead of that nice reclining and adjustable seat you have in your car, bear all of your weight down on to this…thing…that’s about the size of your shoe! Get rid of that steering wheel, the cruise control, volume control and blah blah blah. Get rid of the climate-controlled insides of your vehicle. This road trip is going to be more like riding in a jeep with no doors, the top off and the windshield laid down on the hood. Get rid of that stupid automatic transmission as well, this is all manual shifting, and you better watch those RPMs because that’s your legs pumping away beneath you and beneath that shoe that is jabbing into your butt.
Now get rid of your partner in the passenger seat. (I mostly used to drive, I’m not being sexist or roleist). You get to hear and handle the children in the back seat behind you. No more other parent to spin around and grab toys to hand back, more searching for binkies, switching DVDs, telling one to not pick the nose of the other. It’s all on you, pal. If it’s windy you can’t hear the kids all the time, which can be a blessing and a curse.
(Story continues after Remy’s Ride for Charity: Water Gallery)
This trip is a big deal to us. It is mentally and physically tough on us. If you can begin to imagine what I was just trying to describe to you up above then try and imagine doing that for the past 45 days! We do this because we care and we are hurt that we are giving so much of ourselves and our family and see so many people can’t give a little. It would be a really wonderful thing if more people possibly could relate to what we are doing as a family on this trip. If that then maybe they could relate also with the other parents around their world who also have children. And just maybe that fear of losing your children could help you relate to that mother’s fear in Sudan or the father’s in India as they watch their children walk off into the distance to collect water for the day. If you could feel just the beginnings of their fear would you help? If for the same price as couple packs of cigarettes or a couple Red Bulls, or even for that bad ass game for PS3 you could help another parent’s child, would you?
184,500 children have died since we started this trip. How many can we help save before this trip is over?
* * *
Editor’s Note: Please donate to this cause (links removed, campaign over) and make Remy’s ride a success!
“Fatherhood On the Go” is the multi-part story of Remy Stevensen and his family, who are beginning a nomadic lifestyle by biking across the country with two children and all the while, raising money for Charity: Water. Their ultimate goal is to travel to impoverished nations to implement the infrastructure for which they’re raising money. 8BitDad is proud to help Remy and family get the word out about this charity, and get closer to their goal.