It’s been a long time since we’ve had toddlers. But we figured we were up for the challenge when we offered to take our two young grandchildren for three days so our daughter and her husband could get away to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary.
Just keeping up with a 3 1/2 year old and a 19 month old is a momentous shift in routine for us. Yet I wanted it to be more than just babysitting – I wanted to do some special things with them. After all, that’s what grandparents do. Left to my own devices, I would have ventured out to a pumpkin patch. Or maybe taken them to the zoo. But my husband, Rich, had other ideas. “All the outdoors is a playground” he said. So off to the park we went. Not to play on the swings, but to walk through the woods. Ben, the oldest, wasn’t too sure about shuffling through the leaves on the muddy ground. And the trees lurking overhead did make it a little dark. But when presented with a large stick to carry, he grew in stature and ventured forth. And discovered he liked the woods!
The next day we walked down to the lake. A couple of park benches and a patch of grass didn’t look too interesting to me. But soon Rich and Ben were headed into the woods again. A short walk through the brush brought us all to a stream. What better place to throw sticks into the water! Only when we depleted the local wood supply, did Ben venture further into the woods. This time we were not on park trails. It meant working our way through light underbrush. But Ben was not to be deterred. “C’mon, Grammy” he’d say. Well, if he was game, who was I to hold back? Rich was busy trying to keep Mya from falling in the stream, so it was up to me to follow Ben. He was intrigued with the large downed trees, and his imagination began to unfold. “This is my home” he declared when we found a particularly cozy spot. This time he was so intrigued that we had to lure him back out of the woods to go back home for lunch.
Perhaps there was something to Rich’s idea after all. I still think the pumpkin patch or the zoo would have been fun. But sometimes simple pleasures are the best. I think Ben would agree.