It tests my patience and resolve to make space for freedom for these little adventure seekers. We’ve been greeted by warmer weather, so we headed down to our favorite trail by the river.
We have our favorite stops along the trail, noticing the how the landscape changes with the bare trees and how the construction is taking the nature away (they’re building a subdivision and shopping center). It’s a bit sad really. They’ve cleared away so many trees and a favorite little brush we’d sneak through walking past the rubble of an old chimney, all for the sake of giving houses sitting on top of each other a “river front view.” It’s time to start hunting for a new spot.
As much as I want us to be outside people, there’s always a certain amount of stress that’s going to come with it. Three kids plus a 6-week-old, the length of the trail, planning feedings, and potty needs…yeah. I tend to keep my expectations loose knowing there’s always room for some obstacle.
Yesterday, by the time I had Victoria in the sling and was closing the van door, one kid was already by the water’s edge. Even though they know the boundaries they can get a bit comfortable and forget it’s not so tame.
I threatened to pack them back up in the car a few times.
Don’t get your shoes wet! We’re not getting into the water today!
Don’t go where I can’t see you! We’ve got to turn around, Victoria’s going to wake up and need to eat.
The river was higher than I had ever seen it and with one kid being a tad bit reckless, even after we saw a dog almost drown fetching a stick. The picture of the kids by the water…there’s a row of rocks we usually cross over too a little island. To our right there’s a small grouping of trees usually with a few feet of sand before the water. Today it was surrounded. A fallen tree the kids climb on in the summer was completely submerged, except for a foot of one limb, which this poor dog was desperate to bring back to his owner, nearly getting pulled away by the current while he held on (you can see a tiny speck of his white head in the picture).
But they need it. I need it. If we didn’t we’d miss this opportunity to grow, listen, learn patience, dig their fingers in to find ants and worms, use leaves as a compass, get some much needed vitamin D, see the reddest Cardinal or turtles sunning on a log, and even learn a lesson of water safety. To get a little dirty and explore past the backyard, isn’t always easy with three kids and a baby, but there are payoffs.