It’s downright balmy outside on this Saturday afternoon- hovering just above freezing, if you don’t count the
wind breeze. Claire spent the better part of this last week battling a nasty stomach bug, and today was the turn-around day, thank goodness. The child finally had an appetite again, and was no longer constantly holding her stomach. She had just finished lunch, and was busy with her dolls. I poked my head in to see if she felt like napping today, and without missing a beat, she says “Can we go outside first and nap after?” AMEN! Absolutely! Fresh air, here we come!
We geared up, and headed out. I just followed her around a bit. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping quiet- I know it’s important for children to have their own opportunities to wander and discover, and I have to remind myself to stop pointing things out all the time. So I tried to just kick back and leave Claire be, and for the most part I did well. I would have loved to wander the property a bit, however I just sank into the snow past my knees when I went beyond the areas we cleared, so that wasn’t too fun.
We eventually meandered to the bottom of our big hill, near the water, and I decided to lay down in the snow while Claire played. To my delight, she joined me! We proceeded to spend the next 20 or so minutes just laying there- we watched the squirrels scramble through the branches of the trees, we watched the birds fly around, we saw some big military planes fly by. I continued to bite my tongue and not lead the discussion- interestingly, Claire began to make up stories about what we were seeing. Suddenly, the squirrels lived with rabbits in the holes in the trees, the birds were playing a game of “tag”, and the airplane was heading to her cousin’s house in California. She continued to elaborate on more details, and I continued to keep my mouth shut and not prompt anything. I just lay there, by now soaking wet (no snow pants!), and fingers throbbing- but I wasn’t going to give this up. At one point, she said she was ready for nap, and I said, “ok”. But she didn’t move, and neither did I. She began telling me secrets- whispering in my ear about how I could go with her to her “new school” (oh, really?), as though there were people around who might hear us. It was getting easier, now, to be quiet as I was completely enthralled by this little person hanging out with me. She was funny, she was engaging, and she noticed everything- even the differences in how the birds were chirping. I would have happily given in to frostbite, even given up a digit, just to stay there- but eventually she became chilly and decided we were heading in.
She’s now happily curled up under a blanket on the couch, snoozing next to the toasty fire- I still can’t feel my bum (an hour later) but I’m ok with that. It’s almost like I got to meet this new person who’s growing up so quickly, right in front of me. For a little while, it felt like time stood still. I wasn’t worried about what I had to make for dinner, or if the wash was ready to go into the dryer, or if I had done enough Pinterest projects to give my daughter a magical childhood. I just savored my companion and my surroundings- and all I had to do was be quiet.