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I love museums and air conditioning and structure and rules and check boxes. My son thrives outdoors. When he had a minor cold, I took him in the backyard to bask in the sunshine. He seemed to forget about his problems as he ran laps, smiling all the way.
Once or twice, I’ve taken his school work outside and allowed him to do it there. As I put him to bed that night, he mentioned how much he loved it. “That was so very awesome, Mama.”
I never did love being outside, but I love my son, and I love sparking joy for him. Thus, my goal for the fall was to get him outside for some sort of adventure once a week, on average. Sometimes that looks like a hike with our Wild + Free group or our Outdoor Club, and sometimes it’s just a family outing on a weekend. My husband is the outdoorsy parent in this family, bless him.
Three months into this undertaking, I strapped my 17 month old daughter into my Ergo and marched down a trail with all three of my children, my husband, and my mother-in-law. At the end, we crossed a bridge, descended a bank, and reached a creek.
The golden and warm colored leaves stretched above us as we walked. I directed everyone through the process of removing their shoes and socks. We dipped our feet into the shallow water.
A portion of the shore was sandy, but another portion was composed of something that can only be described as mud. The gooey, creamy mud looked like chocolate frosting. It squished between my toes.
August Laura would have been horrified. November Laura…quite liked it. Something about the mud was grounding.
Squish, squish, squish.
“Mama, watch me!”
“Mama, I’m playing in DIRT!”
“WILD and FREEEEEEEE!”
I handed my daughter a leaf. She laughed at it. We all basked in the joy of creation.
All of us collected leaves. I dried them out at home, then laminated them and strung them on a piece of yarn. They hang above my living room windows now, reminding me of our adventures.
Being in nature reminds us all of how small we are in the scope of the universe. God made such diversity in the earth. He didn’t have to make sand and mud, or cause the leaves to come in such an array of colors, but He did, and we can delight in it. What a blessing.
I’m glad I decided to try it.
This is Kindergarten - Laura McKinney Adams
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