Today I took the kids on one of our summer adventures. We visited Nixon Park, a county park located in York, Pennsylvania. I’ve been experiencing a bit of writer’s block this summer, so when we arrived at the park and started to hike along a small stream, I thought to myself, Perfect. Today I will be inspired.
As I watch my kids run along the path together, they hold hands for a moment and then race over a small bridge. I contemplate writing a piece about their bond as siblings. They are nineteen months apart, and this summer, although they spend a great deal of time arguing, they have been inseparable. But then, my son accidently hits my daughter in the face with a stick, which produces tears, vicious accusations, and statements like, “I’m never going to be your friend!”
When we enter the nature center, they are immediately mesmerized by a set of microscopes with slides. They take their time to look at the various samples of feathers, fossils, and animal fur with great care. I start to brainstorm a piece about how they are so eager to learn new information lately and seem to soak it up so quickly. Then my son realizes one of the knobs on his microscope is slightly broken and loses interest. He would rather spend ten minutes at the water fountain.
After we eat a picnic lunch outside, sweaty and annoyed with all of the bugs, I am ready to go home, but the kids wan to go on another hike. I agree, excited that they are agreeing on something, and we set forth on the Geology trail.
A new idea comes to mind as I watch my surefooted children scamper over rocks and climb trees. I will write about how they have grown up in nature; they learned to walk on the rocky hills of our own woods, and this summer they have run barefoot through are yard and spent more time picking up rocks and acorns than toys.
I suddenly realize that their are different colored symbols on the tree; I seem to have led my children onto a new trail.
I am somewhat directionally impaired and apparently can’t read (or notice) signs. I also forgot to bring the map (not that I can really read one anyway!). My passive aggressive solution? Keep walking. We walk … and walk … and walk. Meanwhile, I am desperately hoping we have not wandered onto the three mile loop I remember seeing on the map because there is no way these kids will make it three more miles.
I feel my anxiety building. Perhaps, I should write a reflection on how trying one new thing a day this summer has finally pushed me to my limits. (Click here to read all about that!). Maybe sometimes, sticking to the tried and true is the best course of action. Or, maybe I should write about how people who tend to panic in these type of situations should probably NOT take two young children on a hike alone in an unfamiliar woods.
I eventually decide we should just go back the way we came. I say it in a cheerful voice, trying to calm the panic building in my chest and trick my children. Of course, the kids quickly start to whine and say things like, “I’m too tired!” “Are we there yet?” and “Didn’t we see this tree already?”
Then my son runs ahead to “investigate,” but falls on the rocks and begins crying and screaming. As I rush to reach him, I frantically hope that my inspiration won’t be something that results in a post entitled, “What to Do When You Are Lost in the Woods and Need Medical Care.”
It won’t be … it’s just a scrape. He finally calms down enough to continue our walk. At this point, I finally start to recognize where we are and feel some of my tension slip away. I return to thinking how much I love exploring with my kids.
Then my daughter points to my son and states in horror, “Your knee is still bleeding!” He looks down, sees a trickle of blood, remembers he hates to see blood, and starts intermittently howling and crying for the rest of the ½ mile trek back to the car.
Finally, we arrive at our car and drive out of the park. I decide to sooth my frayed nerves with a snowball, one of my all-time favorite summer time treats from growing up in Baltimore. As I walk to the stand to place our order, my Fitbit vibrates. Awesome! I already met my step goal, and it is only 1 pm.
Of course, that slight vibration on my wrist is also a reminder of why I’ve been hiking more and why I should not be indulging in treats. Hmmm… perhaps I will write about my weight loss journey this summer and how I still succumb to the “eating to make myself feel better” mentality.
Nah. I’m just going to enjoy my snowball. I am done thinking of ideas today. I suppose that I have been inspired by our adventures today, but I just don’t have the energy to develop any of my ideas. Adventuring with kids can do that to you!