Some days my son disappears into the woods.
Armed with nothing but his imagination and sense of adventure, he heads into the woods behind my parents’ house, often with his cousins and friends. He’s done this on gorgeous summer days, drizzly evenings, and crisp snowy mornings.
I’m never exactly sure what he does there, nor do I care to go investigate. I hear the occasional shout and the hard crack of wood against wood, so I know they’re safe.
The woods are the setting for untold stories, and the fallen trees are material for a fort. The darkness is a filter from the rest of the world. There is just enough distance between this forest hideaway and the watchful eyes of parents to allow him freedom to invent without boundaries, to play without rules.
I can’t see my son when he’s in the woods, but this is what I know: I know he is developing his independence, his creativity, and his appreciation for our natural environment.
He may come back to the house bug-bitten, scraped, or splintered, but he comes back happy.
I got to see the efforts of the boys’ hard work. They proudly led me through the woods to their fort, and I was so impressed I went back for my phone so I could share what they had built:
My daughter is a tornado.
She is a sweet-natured, cheerful child who can transform a clean room into a disaster zone in minutes. Her bedroom is usually a testament to this.
We organized it on the weekend, though. Every. Single. Thing.
This has led to the discovery of toys she had forgotten she owned. So a corner of our living room is now a village of miniature people. Although it may appear to be clutter, to her it is an imaginary land with infinite possibilities for play.
For me, it is a few sweet moments watching her quietly play.
It took a bit of convincing to get the kids outside for the afternoon.
Crisp and cool, it was a refreshing late fall afternoon, too beautiful to be spent indoors. After much procrastination (kids’) and frustration (Mom’s), they were dressed and out. It took about two minutes for them to start having fun. Instead of sitting in front of a video game, they built forts, went for a walk in the woods, and played make-believe on the swing set.
Listening to their carefree laughter was the highlight of my day.
Sometimes, one outing provides for many memorable moments…
A fall day so warm the afternoon was spent at the beach.
One of the fish my children tearfully rescued from the sand bars.
A pretty patterned crab in the shallow water.
My children at play.
Being able to walk barefoot on the sandbars in October – this is a gift.