Our park day was cancelled last week due to a down pouring of rain! So we headed out yesterday to a local park to try again. Again, the weather wasn't fantastic but we were looking forward to meeting up with friends and getting outside.
I confess that I was feeling tired and contemplated skipping this outing. This park has water and it can be a real pain to bring home wet, sandy, hungry, tired kids that don't feel like hiking uphill at the end of the day. I wasn't sure I was up for it.
Sometimes it's easier to just stay home to let the baby nap and send the kids outside to find their own fun. But I'm glad we went. I'm always glad that we go. It's just the going that can be a struggle sometimes.
But where else can you join a pickup a game of tag or hide and go seek? Or climb trees or bang out Mary Had Little Lamb on the park "drums" with sticks. Where else can you find about 12 slugs within 3 feet of hiking trail and repeatedly ask the young hikers to please not stab them with sticks? Where else can you watch your 8 month old squish her toes in the sand for the first time, or watch your son test his balance on a fallen tree over the water, or your daughter enjoying a book in the dappled shade of a newly leafed tree? Or new friendships forming as 10 year olds scale moss covered trees together?
Yes, on the upward hike back to the car there were moans and groans, tired legs, forgotten water bottles and impromptu wardrobe changes mid trail to compensate for unplanned dips in the lake. But I still think it's worth it to put down the books, gather the troops, pack up the car and drive to the parks. These are the days, memories, and friendships that we will always cherish. These are the days when I am glad my kids are not in school. They are here with me, squishing their toes in the sand.