I was over thinking again yesterday.
I was trying to come up with something fun for the boys and me to do after school. We had a couple of hours to kill before going to pick up Ken after work, and the thought of being cooped up in the house while they wrestled, screamed and fought over toys just wasn’t appealing to me. So I tossed them (gently) into the van and we headed into town.
I took the long way in and tried desperately to come up with a plan. Chapters? The mall? Indoor playground? No, no, no. Everything I came up with cost mucho money and was presumably fight-inducing, which is what I was trying to avoid in the first place.
Driving through an ordinary city neighbourhood, I spotted a playground. I saw a parking lot and some slides – good enough for me. The kids were excited and I saw a way to kill an hour. Win/win.
But then, it turned into something way better….
Near the playground was a walking trail. Griffin saw it first, and his imagination drew us away from the playground and into the “forest” (a few trees). We followed the trail up a hill and, lo and behold, there was a soccer field. And you would think they had never seen a field before in their lives 🙂
So they ran….
…and ran, and ran, and ran.
Sometimes I put way too much thought into finding activities for the boys to do, when all they need is right outside the front door. They don’t need fancy playgrounds, or new toys, or movies, or organized playdates with their friends. Although these things are nice, sometimes they just need to run and climb hills and play in the dirt, you know?
And it gets better!
After a few laps of the field, we continued up the trail to find this:
A bike park!
See Griffin down there with the orange hat on? When we climbed up that hill and he saw this, I can honestly tell you that I have never seen his face light up like that. His big blue eyes had never been wider and his smile had never been bigger, not even on Christmas morning, not even at Disneyworld last year.
As a Mom, I am acutely aware of gender roles and the implications of pushing gender stereotypes on my children, in that I don’t. I try to expose my children to all the good things childhood has to offer, regardless of if they are blue or pink. It is part of my Mommy Mission to make sure my boys grow up with the sensitivity they need to succeed in a world where everyone will be considered equal. I know we won’t see it in our lifetime, but at minimum, my children will be part of the solution.
But sometimes, I know they just need to run. And I know that they are boys, and that some boys, like mine, are hardwired to love things like bike parks and dirt. And as much as I don’t get excited by bike parks and dirt, I am happy when I see them happy.
And then we tempted fate and almost ruined a perfect day by attempting a family dinner at a real restaurant. I think this photo says it all:
After spilling the milk, emitting screams pitched high enough to break glass and several escape attempts, we decided that Jace cannot go back to a restaurant until he’s at least fifteen.
When he went to bed last night, Griffin told me it was the best day ever. It was my “reset” button and what I needed to hear to remind me that sometimes parenting doesn’t have to be quite as hard as we make it. You don’t have to make a lot of money, and they don’t need a lot of stuff. We all know that, but a lot of us just forget sometimes.
Sometimes they just want to run.