Sunday, July 29, 2012

There's a Frog in The House

I don't know that I'd call myself outdoorsy. I suppose I started out that way, growing up surrounded by chicken coops, vast vegetable gardens, fishing poles and dirt roads. But if I were asked to describe myself in any number of words...outdoorsy wouldn't even make the list.

For me being outdoors now involves scooping dog poop off our lawn and watering overpriced flowers that I lose interest in, long about July 4th.

These days I consider myself outdoors if I stand with my face pressed against the screen in the kitchen window, watching the kids swim in the pool. I enjoy the beach. I enjoy the lake. I enjoy the river, I even enjoy camping. I like to ski, and will climb a mountain or two. And when given the option of sitting inside or outside at a restaurant...hands down I'll choose outside. I spend time outside watching my kids play softball or baseball, and I'll find a nice bench to sit on when we are at the playground. But that's kinda it. I no longer go outside just because. I don't wander. I don't explore. I don't get lost in the wonder of just being outside. Instead I now experience the wonder of the outdoors from inside, and through my kids.

One of my favorite mom things to do is send my children outside to play, throw open the windows and listen to what unfolds. Maybe that makes me neglectful...admittedly I don't even watch, other than an occasional peek when it gets too quiet.  But I believe I am still there with them. I listen. I am still, focused, and present. I hear their laughter. Their ideas and imagination. Their plans. They apologize to each other outside. And they apologize to the critters they find and hold dear ("oh, I'm so sorry moth/caterpillar/grasshopper/butterfly/slug!"). 

From our backyard the kids pull me close; they include me, even if they are out and I am in. And the best part: I get to share in their excitement and look over and approve of what they've found. On a good day, like today, I'm repeatedly called to, excitedly and exuberantly:
"Mom, you have to see's amazing!"

(Imagine here, an amazing photo of one of the most unique looking moths I've ever seen.
But someone was too lazy to go get her camera when the kids discovered it this morning.
Then it flew into a tree.)

Today Sophie told her brother that this was one of the best days of her life. At nine, she's had A LOT of best days of her life. But today was great, and even she knew it. The three of them huddled together found an incredibly strange looking moth. They found Mr. Hoppy the frog. They picked blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. And it's raining. And they were outside. Together. They didn't fight or argue outside. They were patient with each other. They love being outside, and I love listening to them be outside.

At one point, and in true Quinn form, I heard him express his concern that Mr. Hoppy missed his mom. Then I heard him comfort himself and the girls by affirming that the frog will find his mom, or she will find him.

Then the door to the house swung open at the same time I was yelled too...excited screeches coupled with running feet. And then a spilled frog. And shrieks. Perhaps they couldn't wait for their own Mom to stand guard over this Mom-less frog.

Today the kids brought the outdoors in to me. Today I ended up with a frog inside my house.  And I'm okay with that. As long as it doesn't happen again. Ever.

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