My kids and I have been doing a lot of biking lately. It has been fun, even liberating, to get on a bicycle again. That feeling of the wind in my hair racing down a hill just brings back proper perspective. Today, I even had the joy of hearing Gladys whooping it up in the trailer when we hit top speed.
“Whheeeeeeeee!!!! Let’s do it again!!!!”
I have been taking the kids to a long, pretty flat trail about 30 or so minutes away from our house. We’ve been taking a nearly 12-mile jaunt, stopping for lunch at the farthest point. I think Andrew has really done well finally being able to ‘let loose’ and ride without my constant yelling “watch for cars” and “look both ways before you cross.” The suburbs are nice and all, but they are a stifling in so many ways.
Today, we went to a closer trail that is only about a mile in one direction and has one fairly large hill at the far end. Andrew wasn’t too keen on the hill on the way up, but I had the foresight to park the car at the lowest point (I’m pretty clever that way, okay, lazy, but all they remember is the final stretch). When we stopped for a snack, an older woman passed by with her husband. She commented on how much energy I have. “You have a lot of energy,” she said. I thanked her, of course. After she walked away, I wasn’t sure if she was simply commenting on my athleticism, or if somehow she had bestowed energy upon me.
“You have a lot of energy.” It was as if she was waving a magic wand when she said it.
I was sitting at the picnic table with Andrew, Gladys, and George enjoying our fiber bars after our first two “laps” at the 2-mile trail, thinking about nature. I have read so many articles lately about how children don’t get outdoors enough anymore. And, when they do, there is always an adult directing the events. I try really hard to let my kids explore (see, I try really hard to NOT orchestrate the events . . . there is irony there somewhere). I do. I let them sit down in the river and search under rocks. I let them choose the trail whenever possible. We stop to investigate things. They take off their shoes and run through the grass. But, at the end of the day, we return to our little patch of grass in the suburbs. I can’t let them go off by themselves. I can’t tell them to “be home by dark.”
If you read this blog occasionally, you know that for my dad’s birthday I gave him a family blog. I checked it today and saw his very first comment. My dad grew up on a farm in northern Wisconsin. He did run around and explore without adults. He went to school in a one-room schoolhouse. He remembers when his family got a toilet. So, what was his very first blog comment?
After his personal thank you’s (see the Brady Bunch poem I posted previously) . . .
“I used to play around in the bog, now I play around in the blog. I guess I gained an ‘l’ somewhere.”
I thought it was funny. And, maybe just a little too true.