Tuesday, September 25

A Walk with My Daughter

....this is the stuff the Mom Life is made of....

Abby and I took a walk around the lake today after lunch. It is a gorgeous fall day – chilly in the shade, and warm in the sun. It was the perfect weather for a nature walk and that is exactly what we did.

Abby donned her pink light jacket and her kitty helmet and grabbed her Harley. We hooked her netted bug house to the rope on her motorcycle and I carried the plastic bug house. I grabbed my phone, camera, and keys and we headed out.

There are a couple trails that lead from the complex to the 2-mile trail that circles a lake where we live. Abby and I headed to the connecting trail closest to our building and began our nature walk. We had no plans for a quick walk but instead wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather and see what we could find.

Abby rode her motorcycle and I walked beside her and we would stop every time one of us found something that interested us. Abby’s first finds that found their way into the plastic bug house were leaves and pinecones. She would stop to pick flowers and I would stop us to find feathers. I don’t think Abby realized that the trail encircled the lake because as we rounded the first big bend, we got a good look at the water through the trees. Abby’s face lit up. She gasped and pointed with her little finger and said she could see the water. There was a bench at this area so I stood Abby up on it to give her a better look. (I took this chance for a photo op.)

There are a lot of footpaths leading off of the paved trail that lead closer to the water through the trees. As we were passing by one of these footpaths, I noticed that it led to a flat, open area next to the water. Since most of the paths lead to spots that are too steep for us to check out, we stopped at this one so Abby could get a better look at the water. (At this point we were both getting really excited about finding stuff. J ) There were fallen trees stretching into the water and there were tiny fish hanging out in the shallows next to the log right near the shoreline. Abby would have been happy spending the whole time there watching the fish and finding rocks, sticks, and grass to throw in the water.

After we kept going, we came upon two geese (or swans? Or really really big ducks?) taking a nap on a ridge between the lake and the walking path. Abby got off her motorcycle and we left it at the side of the trail to walk up the ridge to see the sleeping geese a little closer. Abby was completely captivated. We were talking to each other in whispers so we wouldn’t wake them up. J Abby told me that she doesn’t sleep on the grass (and wouldn’t like it) and that she sleeps in her bed at home. At Abby’s suggestion, we tip-toed when we walked back down to her motorcycle.

When Abby would get tired of riding her motorcycle, she would tell me that she wanted to take a break for a little while. I would carry her motorcycle and we would hold hands. A couple times while walking hand-in-hand, without looking at me, Abby would just say “I love you Mommy”. It melted my heart.

To take the time to experience nature through Abby’s eyes was amazing. Letting myself get excited about everything instead of walking past it all while focused on the next task on my mental to-do list was wonderful for my soul. And it was an amazing way to connect with my precious 3-year-old.

I found myself stopping her (and turning off the sounds to her motorcycle) to listen to the birds “talking” to each other and to watch them flit about the trees. Abby became so interested in watching them that she walked quietly to get closer to the trees that the birds were in. I let her stand there to watch as long as her little heart desired. Abby loved watching the birds. I loved watching Abby take it all in. And when she came back to climb on her motorcycle so we could keep going, I pointed out a red bird near us. My little one surprised me by remembering that the red bird is called a ‘cardinal’.

When you are 3 years old, everything holds intrigue and wonder. At one point, after Abby added more treasures to her netted bug house, the ground caught her eye. Abby pointed to the ground and said “Look Mommy, the ground is sparkly!”. The things that we as adults pass by without a second thought but little ones take the time to notice and draw attention to -- awe-inspiring.

After rounding the furthest edge of the lake, we came upon a big gap in the trees that let us look out on the water. There were a few fallen trees in the water here, too. On these logs were a bunch of turtles sunning themselves. J Abby wanted to go down and get one to bring home. We also got to watch ducks swimming on the water and splashing on the opposite bank. Abby was still on her motorcycle watching them and I was kneeling beside her. My precious little girl told me that she would like to be a duck and we talked about being a duck. Then she did one of the most unexpected things. She clasped her hands in front of her and, with her kitty helmet still on, bowed her head and asked God to let her be a duck and to let Mommy be a duck. And said ‘amen’. She prayed to God asking to be a duck and for Mommy to be a duck with her. I just watched her in complete amazement. Precious.

Around yet another bend, Abby and I came upon a dock. We decided to check it out. J Unfortunately, out on the dock, we couldn’t see anything through the murky water. We walked back to the beginning of the dock and looked over the edge near the shore. We could see through the water here since it wasn’t very deep. There we found something exciting and yet it gave me the heebie geebies!! Abby and I found 4 little snakes!!!! They were in the water among little sticks and rocks and tiny fish. It was crazy! And when they moved a little, it creeped me out even more! After taking pictures, it occurred to both of us that if there are babies then there is probably a mommy around. Yikes. We high-tailed it back to the trail and kept going.
It's hard to see, but there are two black & orange striped snakess picture.

The entire walk was filled with wonderful moments and special finds. But we both did start to get tired toward the end. Abby asked me to carry her for a bit, and so I did. I was sure she was going to fall asleep on my shoulder….but since my arms were turning to jelly, she rode her motorcycle a little more. Then Abby dropped a bomb. It was the inevitable “Mommy I have to pee”. We were on the last leg; nearly back to the path leading back into the apartment complex with no port-a-potties around. Run! Haha No seriously, she was walking and I was carrying her motorcycle and we quickened our pace. Then it was “Mommy carry me!”. I didn’t want to carry her because I was scared if she stopped moving she wouldn’t be able to hold it in. I ended up carrying her anyway…just at a much quicker pace. J

We made it home in time! (It was also 2 hours later!) Abby and I had a wonderful walk together and she loved being able to tell her story at dinner. After dinner, she showed Daddy and Kyleigh all of her treasures from the walk. It was a day well spent with my daughter and not with laundry, dishes, cleaning, or errands. Today reminded me that we tend to place a higher importance on things that aren’t really that important in the scheme of things. What is important is that we take time to really listen to our kids and remember the joy and excitement of childhood. It is important to put all of our day-to-day stuff on hold because let’s face it, it’ll still be there tomorrow. Whereas our children are never going to be this little again and the chances we have to spend with them grow fewer and fewer as each day passes. I am truly happy and lucky and just blessed that I got to spend this time with Abby and we got to have our own adventure.

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