children and nature / MOTHERHOOD / out and about

Today I said yes.

04.10.13

 

Summer-like temperatures have my kids raiding the attic for last year’s too-small, too-short summer dresses and tank tops. They wilt in the heat they’ve been wanting-for all winter. They come in the kitchen melting with “hotness”.I remind them that maybe they’re sweaty and red-faced because they’ve been racing bikes up and down the dusty lane.

For the past two days I’ve been turning down their pleas to go down to the stream. I’ve got to-do lists a mile long, boxes to unpack, laundry to put away, monogrammed towels to sort, there’s no time for wading in streams.

 

Summer-like temperatures have my kids raiding the attic for last year’s too-small, too-short summer dresses and tank tops. They wilt in the heat they’ve been wanting-for all winter. They come in the kitchen melting with “hotness”. I remind them that maybe they’re sweaty and red-faced because they’ve been racing bikes up and down the dusty lane.

For the past two days I’ve been turning down their pleas to go down to the stream. I’ve got to-do lists a mile long, boxes to unpack, laundry to put away, monogrammed towels to sort, there’s no time for wading in streams.

But this morning, I read this and was immediately struck by the barrage of no’s I’d been handing out the past several days, weeks even.

As exhausted a cliche as it is, it’s a pretty safe bet that they’d remember the day we dropped everything and went to the stream, not the day I finally got everyone’s socks paired and put away in their drawers. What’s one more day with mismatched socks?

So I said yes.

Still, you’d think in my 11 years of parenting experience I’d know better, but as bodies and slobbering dog were piling out of the car, I heard myself say, “We’re not getting wet, just wade up to your shorts!”

And less than five minutes later I heard myself say, “Okay, you can go ahead and get all the way in.”

When I called up the stream that it was time to go, I heard some lovely child say, “C’mon. We need to listen or we won’t be able to do this again.” And in that moment I was reminded that saying yes doesn’t always mean relenting, giving in, or a weakness in my mothering fortitude.

Mostly it’s about wading through all there is to do in each day and finding a happy balance in that middle ground.

And P.S. I still got the socks sorted. Bonus.

10 comments on “Today I said yes.”

  1. The weather this week has been too summer-like to NOT stop and revel in it! Last night there was an impromptu wiffle ball game in the front yard until 7:40, and that was after a long time at the local park playing. I woke up early before teaching to get a run in before the heat sapped my energy after school. I am sure the creek was chilly, but SO refreshing. Sometimes it's good to say YES.

  2. What a perfect way to enjoy Spring! I wish I was a kid again… but as my daughter gets older I hope I can enjoy a day like this with her.

  3. molly, posts like this get me every time. i'm wondering why i need reminders after 12, almost 13 years as a mama, to just say yes. to enjoy these moments like these. the creek. absolutely my favorite place to be with my kids. it's been too long and today might just be warm enough. thank you. (oh, and the shots with the watery bokeh? magical!!)

  4. That's exactly what I did yesterday. The vacuuming was put off to today (it's due to rain) and we headed into the garden. It's a tiny garden, but the boys still managed to water plants, dig soil, make soil-castles, sort shells, chase cats and eat a picnic. They were covered in dirt and jam, their trouser-bottoms wet, and yet I put away that nagging mother and let my happy-go-lucky mother self take the reins. It was wonderful. The house is still messy (worse, in fact – muddy footprints everywhere!) but it was more than worth it. PS your pictures, by the way, are just glorious.

  5. This is my childhood, so many days playing in the creek at home and the river near my grandparents' house in Delaware. And camping at the lakes in WI. I'm sure those days were nowhere near as numerous as they are in my memory, but they feel like they were. Your thoughts are correct. 🙂

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