Spring has hit with all its glory, and we’re spending time outside more and more frequently. Alex has taken to bringing my shoes to me and attempting to mash them onto my feet. It’s his way of saying he wants to go out. I’m loving our little town in Oklahoma for its outdoor beauty and opportunities. We walk the Pathfinder, a trail that goes through town. We visit the duck pond to feed the ducks and geese. We spend time in our backyard and the field beyond.
I have days that being the mom of a toddler wears me out. It’s easy to feel inadequate. My child was born to older parents, and he has a mother with chronic migraine and an autoimmune disorder. To say that I’m tired is an understatement. And often I have the doubts that plague modern mothers: Am I teaching him enough? Is he properly stimulated? Is he doing what other kids his age are doing? Why doesn’t he have more teeth?! (That last one might be unique to me.)
But somehow, when we’re outdoors, I’m unaware of these concerns. Instead, I’m entranced watching my child experience the world around him. Seeing his delight as he tosses bread, and ducks swim up to eat it. Blowing bubbles for him to chase, as he giggles with the sheer joy of it. Tossing maple seeds so he can see them twirling back down to the ground, then watching him try to make them spin, too.
He is busy, always busy. He grabs his bucket, which I’ve conveniently taught him to fill with weeds, and he wanders the yard, picking dandelions to place inside. Sometimes he brings them directly to me, grinning with the praise he receives for picking the little yellow flowers. He finds sticks and wanders the yard, waving them about, as if conducting a symphony that only he can hear. He bobs his head a little, then his whole body follows, as he dances spontaneously to the music in his head.
This is the stuff of childhood. These are the days that will be seared in my mind to become precious memories in the future. Because I know that someday, the world will cease to be new to him. It won’t be a big deal to see a duck eat a piece of bread. Bubbles will not be worthy of chasing. And he may stop noticing the seeds and sticks and dandelions all around him. But I hope the music he hears, the song in his heart, will never truly change, and he’ll still want to dance for the sheer joy of it.