Mommy Lesson #41.5 – Adventures are waiting…all you have to do is get out and find them

 I typed up a long post about the dangers of “child-centered” parenting, full of deep thoughts and newly-learned lessons, but I’m feeling woefully unqualified to write such a post today. Instead I’ve decided to write an account of our magical weekend, more for my benefit than yours, though I hope you enjoy reading about our experiences. It’s these simple moments that are all too easily forgotten, but are the building blocks I’m sure of a close-knit, happy family and a simple, unhurried childhood.

It’s been a long cold winter, and though we didn’t experience sub zero temps or numerous blizzards like so many unfortunate parts of the country, I’m enough of a coldaphobe to keep both me and Baby Girl inside for most of the past three months. Charlotte has changed so much in those months, and is now so much more equipped to explore the world around her, that I have been awaiting the first warm days of spring with double my usual anticipation (which, if you know me at all, is saying a lot!).

And finally, the day arrived. Last weekend the temperatures were so mild and the sun so bright it seemed as if the Creator had plucked the days out of early June and plopped them down right in the middle of March. I was determined to enjoy the heck out of the (finally!) warm weather, and enjoy we did.

My hardworking hubby came home early on Friday and I met him at the door with a squealing child and my plan to get outside…to adapt our usual “eat out” Friday night plans to a picnic dinner at a local park. Prince Charming was game, so we saddled up and galloped off to grab subs, chips and drinks on our way to the playground. When we arrived it was clear that we were not the only ones to have this particular brainstorm. The park was full of kids in action and parents setting aside their adult responsibilities in favor of tag and monkey bars. We snagged a picnic table and chowed down while soaking in the atmosphere of childish squeals, soft breeze, small bodies swinging, jumping, running. Charlotte, being very mobile but not quite walking yet, was confined to her stroller, where she soaked it all in with eager enjoyment. She was almost too distracted to eat her dinner, and ended up with large quantities of plum/apple/berries on her nose, cheeks and chin as a result of her frequent head turns.

Although I often bemoan the pain of daylight savings time, this day I was immensely grateful for it, as it allowed for a leisurely stroll down the bike trail after we ate, and even time enough for Charlotte to try out a “bucket swing” for the very first time.

Pardon the video shot with my phone, but I didn’t want to miss the moment. She loved it. Loved it! And so did we, as we sailed through the air, experiencing flight right along with her, yet another opportunity to see the world anew through the eyes of our daughter. She looks both so big and so small inside the swing, and my heart swells and hurts with the knowledge that she is growing so fast.

Saturday was a continuation of the balmy weather, so we took the baby and the dog on a long walk down the newly paved trail that will someday soon run behind our neighborhood (hello bike rides!). I had apparently not made the full adjustment from cloudy cold to warm sunshine, as I completely forgot about sunscreen. I didn’t even have the baby sunblock with us. Oops! Thank goodness for the stroller cover that shielded Sweetums, so only Chris and I paid for my lack of forethought with pink shoulders, arms, and foreheads.

We ended the jaunt with a trip to the local fro yo joint, where Charlotte got her first taste of the creamy delicious delight (hey, at least it was 98% fat free yogurt, not ice cream :)).

I’m sorry we don’t have more pictures…we even brought the camera and everything, we just were too busy living the experience to stop and capture it.

But oh Spring, how you taunt and tease! The next day dawned stormy and cold, and the gray sky lingers even today. I could resent the return of the cold and wet, but in the spirit of thanksgiving I will instead choose to be grateful for a small taste of sunshine’s return, and look forward to the next appearance. 🙂 The lesson learned from this weekend? Pay attention to the warm days, take full advantage of the opportunities to play together, and remember that the simplest excursion to the local park is the stuff of forever memories and the gift of a simple, happy, full childhood.

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