Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adventure Seekers

Some golden afternoons imprint on your memory with indelible ink.  One of those for me was when I was about 10 years old.  My sister and I were at the park with some of our best friends in the world.  Our moms had dropped us off and were going to come back in a couple of hours, so we were free to explore.  There was a stream running through the park that was full of minnows.  It had been blocked into a few artificial waterfalls over a concrete path covered with moss.  I don't remember whether the prohibition against wading was explicit or implicit, but we decided that it would be more than worth the punishment to go splashing around.  It was.

Today, I took the kidlets to the same park, and found that the same stream was shallow enough to pose no terrible safety hazard.  With a grin, I invited the kidlets to get close to the water.  Their eyes popped and sparkled.  We spent the entire afternoon creating our own adventures there.

At first, the kids just crossed carefully on some rocks.  Then they found sticks and began to poke and swish them around.  Elena loved making ripples in the water and pretending to fish.  Ariana and Joel explored a little further and found a pipe that crossed the stream.  Such a perfect balance beam could not be ignored.  Quickly slipping off their shoes, they began making their way across. 

They kept looking up at me with questioning eyes, waiting for a "no".  It didn't come.  Each time they realized that I wasn't going to stop their adventures, their eyes lit up and they would start laughing with delight.

Of course, eventually, they impulse to wade was irresistible.  This time Joel winced as his pant legs started to get wet and looked over at me.  I asked him to come over and rolled up his pants.  He and Ariana chortled with joy as they squished the mud and moss between their toes. 

Amaya had her own adventures, eating leaves (well, trying to, but I spoiled her fun), playing with pebbles (didn't eat those, thank goodness!) and swinging.   Finally, Elena was enjoying nature so much that she decided to go au natural.  We left just before the undies were stripped off. 

It is so easy to say no to play that seems messy, muddy or just out of what we usually do.  But why?  This didn't even make extra laundry--I was going to have to wash their clothes anyway.  Yet so often our default is to veto the adventure, and that makes us miss out on so much.  I don't know if this afternoon will stick in my children's minds as much as the one did in mine from so many years ago.  I hope that there will be so many like this that it will be tough to remember just one.  So the kidlets and I are embarking on a new quest--to say yes, to enjoy the adventures in every golden afternoon.


Staci said...

How fun! Of course I had to giggle at Elena stripping down, ;).
I would love to take advantage of this beautiful weather to get together with you and your little cuties. *hint, hint*

dulce de leche said...

Yay! You have a standing invitation to join us on all the adventures. <3

Megan @ Purple Dancing Dahlias said...

Love this! My husband and I try to ask ourselves, before we say no, if we are saying no because the kids could get hurt... or are we saying no because we don't want to be inconvenienced.

dulce de leche said...

Megan, that is a great habit! <3. So much of it really is just a question of convenience, and even then the reality of saying yes is frequently no less convenient than saying no.

granny2five said...

We took the grands to a state park in early Spring one year. The stream was teeth-chattering cold, but I thought they would enjoy wading. They loved it, until one of them slipped and fell in that frigid (well, almost) water. I had to wrap her up to keep her from getting chill blains on the drive home. I have a picture of her, soaked to her waist, threatening to strip the wet clothes off!

dulce de leche said...

You are an awesome granny! <3 You have given your grands so many delightful days. I shivered reading abut it, but I am pretty sure that for them the adventure outweighed any discomfort.