Monday, May 13, 2013

Hitting the Horizon

So, on Saturday, we were having one of "those days." If you're a mother, you are probably familiar with those days--you know, the ones where every. single. thing you say or do elicits stomping and tantruming from your children.

"Let's go to the park!" Children lay on floor and cry.

"Let's go with our friends to a car show!" Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

"Let's go to the candy store and you can have anything you want!" Children go limp with much sobbing and agony.

I should go back a bit. On Thursday, Rob and I woke to the Squirrel saying, "Dad! The kitchen is all wet! It's like a swimming pool!" He sprung up and ran downstairs to find the kitchen, bathroom, and a good portion of our living room covered in water, which had, delightfully, emerged from the toilet sewer line. We still don't know what caused the back up, as it must have happened in the middle of the night, but we spent a great deal of time with clean-up, ripping things out, and enduring the terrible smell of the disinfectant/sporicide that the restoration company used (Rob kept commenting how it smelled like the cadaver lab at school). So, in fairness to the kids, they hadn't even been allowed into the downstairs portion of our house in 3 days, and though I was trying to find ways to get them out of the house or have fun upstairs, they had pretty much met their limit. Add to that the fact that they went to bed too late and woke up to early, and by noon on Saturday, they were pretty much possessed by evil demons of despair. I could have offered to buy them ponies and let them live on a cloud of cotton candy, and they would have collapsed in agony.

So I made some PB&J while they wailed, dragged them, kicking and screaming, to the car, and started driving.

I should also mention that spring in Idaho gives me wanderlust. We've had a pretty cold winter, and the weather lately has finally turned and just been wonderful. And for some reason, it just makes me want to head for the horizon and never stop until I reach it. So we hopped on some back roads, and I headed east. I told the kids we were taking a picnic in the mountains. They wept and gnashed teeth about this too, but they eventually fell asleep, strapped in their seats. I enjoyed a bit of quiet, and they had some much needed rest.

About an hour later, the kids woke, and we found ourselves near the base of the Grand Tetons. We stumbled upon a, thus far, mostly undeveloped master-planned community. We drove around and found a sweet little pond with ducks and reeds, and set out our picnic. And this is when the magic happened.

My children, who had been so ornery and belligerent, were suddenly not just happy, but PEACEFUL. And by that, I mean that their sweet little souls were full of peace.

As we got out of the car, Squirrel closed her eyes, and took a deep breath, raising her hands above her head. She whispered as she let her air out, "Wow...It's soooo beautiful here!" And indeed it was. Little Bird looked around and said, "I love it here!" We stayed until the sun began to set, and the two of them, who often play well, but whose play is often punctuated by battles and arguments, didn't fight once. They shared their food, they told stories, they danced and called to the birds, they wrestled happily. The little Grasshopper was also in his element, grabbing any food he could get his paws on, picking up and chewing blades of grass and sticks, laughing hysterically at his brother and sister.

Little Bird, who is my touchy fellow--who tends to run only at each end of the spectrum and who can have colossal mood swings at the tiniest inconvenience, was calling everything his friend. The birds were his friends, the grass was his friend, even the mosquito who bit him (which would normally make him very angry) was his friend. "That mosquito is still my friend, Mom. He just wanted to taste me. That's why he bit me."

It was one of those moments where I really do wish I could have frozen time and stayed forever.

I think that's one of the remarkable things about nature, and its value to our kids. It's one thing for my kids to get outside and play in the park--they have fun, they get dirty and wear themselves out, all things I love. BUT, seeing them out in NATURE, in the vast openness, in the kind of quiet that can only be had when you are surrounded by the peaceful sighs of lapping water, wind through the tall grass, and the chatter of birds, to hear your own voice echo and yawp through it all, THIS is a powerful thing for kids. It teaches them about the vastness of God's creation, about the fact that they are just a small, tiny piece of this great big world--that the world doesn't center around them. And that, I think, is what finally busted them out of their funk. Once they experienced that connection to nature, and something much grander than themselves, they were able to feel the peace they craved. And I craved. :)

Anyway, I think we may drive to the horizon every weekend this summer. Maybe something new every week, some vast expanse to help them find themselves and connect with their Maker.

Of course, I forgot my camera. But the iPhone is pretty handy. Enjoy the views.



  1. Do you remember how you got there? We've been looking for somewhere out of Rexburg to have a picnic and let the kiddos run and that place looks perfect. Sorry the kids were being so difficult. The next time your place floods (or whenever) just send them over here. We always love to have them.

    1. Yes, just head east on the 33. :)
      This is that place we stopped:

  2. Happy to see you blogging again. I have missed it.

  3. I love you! Thanks for sharing. We are going to go as soon as I get done with school.When we do, I will blog - Thanks for being a mom I look up to! You rock!

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