Spring is my favorite time in Texas. The sky is blue, the temperature perfect, and there are flowers everywhere. If it weren’t for the several months of spring, I don’t think I could tolerate the absolutely awful summers!
This year we haven’t had much of a winter, and yet I still can’t help but get almost giddy at the fledgling steps toward spring. The spring here is filled with long lists of fun activities to do with the kids and I find myself filled with excitement just like I use to feel as a child at Christmas time. The sunshine and the gorgeous flowers that will soon carpet the ground make every day feel better and a little brighter.
So, though it isn’t really spring yet, the days are teasing us into a feeling as if it’s here. In honor of its soon arrival, we decided to do one of our favorite spring time activities and go hiking this weekend, all of us.
It might sound crazy taking a three year old hiking on tough terrain, but I am mother to a very, not ordinary three year old. She is more like “Super Toddler!” I tried it for the first time last fall, by myself with all three kids, and was amazed to find that not once did Lily ask me to carry her. The most I had to do was hold her hand to steady her in the rocky and steep places.
So, much to my husband’s dismay, the kids decided to, once again, not take the easy trail, but to take the moderate trail, and then to make things even more interesting, they decided to take on the difficult trail as well.
I have to admit, even I had a fair amount of trepidation when seeing just how difficult the difficult trail really was. What kind of mother took her three year old on a 3+ mile hike on steep and rocky terrain? I had to remind myself that this wasn’t just any three year old, this was Lily.
It wasn’t enough for her to just make the hike, she wanted to be at the front of the pack with her big brother. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched her scurrying after her brother trying to keep up with his longer legs. At one point, in trying to catch up to him, she wasn’t being as mindful as she should have been. She tripped on a root and went down flat on her face, hard. She didn’t cry out much less cry. All she said was “Umpf!” pause, “I’m okay! I’m okay!” and she bounded up, brushed herself off and hit the ground running.
Arabelle is the complete opposite of Lily in so many ways. Where Lily is intense, Arabelle is gentle. Where Lily wants to take the world by storm, Arabelle approaches it quietly with her arms wide open. For her, the exertion of the hike is to be born only because of the company she’s keeping and the flowers and butterflies along the way. So, where Lily sprinted ahead, Belle and her Daddy followed along in the back, chatting amiably along the way.
I stayed in the middle, trying to keep an eye on the two darting far ahead without being out of ear shot of the two dwindling behind. I found my heart bursting with pride in the tenacity of the two in the front while my heart warmed at the sounds of Daddy and his little girl strolling along chatting in companionable conversation. It was one of life’s perfect moments.
We took a break about midway through the hike to break out snacks for the little people and to gaze at the little lake that was the goal of our hike. It was a beautiful day and the little lake glistened in the sunlight and for a moment we all just gazed in silence, one of those truly rare moments with little kids!
But then, as it so often will with little people, the moment took on a fun and playful twist. Gavin was the first to spot the turtles, and then as we looked for turtles we spotted hundreds of fish just below the surface. Gavin decided to try an experiment. He tossed in one of his crackers to see what would happen.
The fish began to fight each other for the cracker. The turtles in the distance, seeing the cracker, swam for it with one objective, to steal the cracker from the fish. It was hilarious to watch! Of course, the girls had to get in on the action as well, so they began throwing crackers to the fish and soon all of them were giggling uncontrollably at the antics of the fish and turtles.
The day was so much fun that Gavin, who, as most little boys his age, loves video games declared, “I can’t believe I’m saying this but . . . I think I like hiking even more than playing my video games!” Even after an over 3 mile hike, he wanted more! Though, Super Toddler though she may be, we felt like that might have been asking a bit much of our little toddler super hero! 🙂
One thing the day ensured is that we will certainly be going hiking a lot this year. It was good for all of us. The sunshine, the company and the physical exertion all combined to make for the best weekend we have had in a long time! It also helped me to begin looking toward the fun we can have in the future with our growing family. Though I will be sad to leave the fun of the quirky toddler years behind, how much I am going to enjoy the company of these three little amazing people that I am so lucky to have in my life!