©JFries  Along Our Morning Walk

©JFries Along Our Morning Walk

My dog and I went for our usual morning walk like we do every morning when we’re at the lake.  Usually my husband accompanies us, but today he was busy constructing.  We left him to his task.

When we first started taking this morning walk a few years ago we would venture by our neighbour’s cottage.  It was always quiet, obviously no one stirring and my husband and I would smile at our days of sleeping in long gone by and silence our banter as we quietly made our way past.

As time went on and they realized that our morning sojourns were not likely to stop, curtains went up and like most places it became more homey.  Our paths would occasionally cross and we’d exchange neighbourly pleasantries.

More time passed and a stroller, a car seat and the predictably beautiful baby appeared.  Babies just somehow always turn out beautiful; one of those unexplainable cool aspects of nature.

Now once in awhile we would exchange pleasantries during our early morning walk because we all know that little ones and sleeping in don’t work every single weekend.  At least not in my corner of the world.

“Ride!  Ride!”  He cried as he pointed at me.

Last night we went for a bike ride and met them as they were walking home.  The little guy, no longer a baby, perched high upon his dad’s shoulders was taking in the entire world with wonder.  We nodded and said hi as I rode by and the little guy’s voice was lost in the whirr of my tires and the wind in my ears.  It was a short ride, and on our way back we passed their cottage.   There he was, in tears, trying as hard as he could to pull his tiny two wheeler complete with training wheels away from his mom.  “Ride!  Ride!”  He cried as he pointed at me.  I smiled guiltily and rode a little faster as I heard “Not tonight honey.  Tomorrow.”  His mom tried to console him while battling valiantly over the bike with that weariness every mother can relate to.

Suddenly I was transported back to when my own children were that age. All the wonder, curiosity, exuberance, striving for balance of independence and protection.  The joys, firsts, frustrations, fears and tears that are all wrapped up in being parents.  I felt like saying “One ride, just for a few minutes.  In a few years you won’t regret grabbing the moment.  Grab the moments when ever you can.”

This morning on my way back from my walk I saw “Grampa” walking over to his vehicle and heard the little guy’s voice, “Where you going Grampa?  Look Grampa!”  And then I smiled as I saw Grandpa’s step quicken and heard him respond, “Oh hold on now, just a second….”   “Why Grampa?  Look!”

I continued on my way,  my dog noticed only the chipmunks and fresh morning smells that needed required his attention.  His priorities were obvious.  I thought about the wonder of the years they are experiencing, how quickly they pass  something every parent learns themselves.

You prepare yourself for them growing up.  Some days you hate to admit that you can hardly wait for them to grow up while other days the thought is an icy hand gripping your heart and you’re willing to sell your soul to keep them little forever.

I feel fortunate that I have kids that for the most part willingly and lovingly spend time with me.   They give me many moments of beautiful memories and happy smiles that I cherish.  They fill my heart, take no space and require no dusting.

Even though I’ve prepared myself for them growing up and growing away, the reminders sometimes catch me by surprise.  I remember when I was sixteen, the first summer I didn’t want to go away on vacation with my parents.  I didn’t want to waste time visiting relatives.  I wanted to be with my friends.  I wanted to experience things my way on my terms when I wanted to.  Period.

My oldest turned sixteen this year.  It didn’t happen within a week of his birthday so maybe I sort of forgot about it.  Maybe I let myself believe that he’d always be happy and satisfied to be more of a home body, a family type of person.  Right.  First of all, it’s not something I really want…. a kid who would rather be at home than experiencing life?  Besides, that could result in me cooking and cleaning forever even though he’s very good at both.

I should have known.  What it took was summer.  Connecting with all the friends from activities.   And Wham!  We dropped from first place.  And that’s okay.  That’s the way it is supposed to be.  We’ve had plenty of moments.  I’m pretty sure we’ll have many more too.  I realize though, that there may be some longer spaces in between them, at least for awhile.  That’s the way it’s supposed to be too.

Momentarily I felt the emptiness of regret, a longing for the moments I might have missed, the moments I could have made but didn’t.  I mourned the time wasted, opportunities lost.  At the same time I realized the truth that you can’t make moments any more than you can make a flower.  You can prepare the bed, plant, tend and nurture, but the moment, like the flower will grow into being on it’s own.  You just have to be open to recognizing it and enjoying it’s beauty and wonder when it finally blooms.

Who says walks are just for exercise.  Sometimes, they are opportunities to learn beautiful lessons about life.

Let your children guide you as you guide them.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Live, Love, Laugh – a lot
Be open to the moments, gently grab hold and let them fill your heart.

I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

©2014 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

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