family hike

Finding time for our family is different when my husband works strange shifts.  Today is a beautiful spring day (bordering on summer, though — not ready for such heat!)  and we were able to get in a nice family hike this morning.  Usually this is one of our favorite things to do together, but we were met with strong opinions and crossed arms this morning.

“No, I want to play outside!” (well, isn’t that what hiking is?)

“I don’t want to do this hike, I want to do that hike.”

And on, and on.  You would think that we were asking this kid to eat brussel sprouts, or clean his room.  Sigh.  He is a strong and opinionated little boy, a bit too much like his mama.  I am challenged by him often. We trudged ahead, knowing that this is exactly what our little foursome needed.

Once at the trailhead, it took only a few minutes to find our pace.  The Littlest on my back, the Eldest poking around at the grass, slowing his steps to make a discovery and making haste to catch up again, my husband and I held hands as we took in the sunshine.  This particular trail is familiar to my family; we passed the rock where my husband and I had a decent argument, before kids.  And there?  That’s where we saw the fox.  And around that bend is where our dog discovered the snapping turtle! We remembered how this is the very same hike we did the morning before I went into labor with the Littlest.  These milestones in our lives connect us to this place, this geography, this dirt and tree and field.

Micha, over at mama:monk, wrote recently about stability as a Benedictine practice, and lamented her lack of geographical stability.  I read her words, nodded my headed, but felt my heart grumbling.  As my family approaches five years in this same house, I feel a wandering perk.  This has by far been the longest we’ve been in one spot, and though I know that I am slightly nomadic in personal desire, I am comforted by this connection that we’ve forged for ourselves with our surroundings.  Though I am restless, I will find small ways to feed this desire instead of severing these connections.  A vacation would be nice.  Rearranging furniture, a new paint color.  I will continue to wander my small surroundings.  I’m never certain of the far future for our family, but I know that the near future is here, in the house, with these woods and fields and hikes as a backdrop.

As usual, the fresh air and a bit of sweat did much to change our attitudes (that and a fresh apple cider doughnut afterwards).  Today, as the Eldest dug in the dirt, he discovered this little red spider.  He chased it with a stick and picked some wildflowers from the field.  He ran up hills and back down again, his feet mimicking the ground falling away.  (Yet somehow it did not produce a nap!)  These are all ways that he is making peace with his place.

Though my husband will kiss us goodbye and head off to work as the children are brushing teeth and making their way towards bed, I have come to some peace about today.  And though I don’t yet have peace about the next two weeks of ugly work shifts, I am trusting God’s promise that His grace is sufficient and I’m going to anchor myself on these moments.

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