Yesterday evening we went to Mill Pond to play with the kids at the park. Watching them climb, jump, slide and run, I reflected on their little personalities; on the fiber of their childhood and on those little qualities that parents love to look for in their children.
My children are strong, adventurous and free. They march to the beat of their own drum. On the playground J is fearless and determined while M is all business and concentration. Don't tell D, but I am not so afraid of our monkeys getting hurt. They do periodically. Bruises, scrapes, splinters, blisters, and cuts have been a part of our lives practically since M started crawling. A cry, a special mom or dad hug, sometimes a band-aid and then showing off war-wounds to everyone around are what generally ensue. I have stopped trying to be a protective helicopter parent outside and enjoy their fun instead. (Ummm, actually, I lied. I am a little nervous letting them climb up the outside of the tube slide, but so far M can only make it to the first section on the bottom...)
They are not wild children, but they love the wild, unrestrained play of the outdoors. They love the freedom of being uncontained - of having sticks, rocks and dandelion puffs for toys. They love the feel of sand squishing between their toes, or building sand castles and sand tombs (yes, you read that correctly, tombs). They love climbing on rocks, those lovely large edging beauties that J very precisely paces atop like a mountain climber or circus performer. They love building fire-pits with pretend fires inside made of sticks, bits of moss and stones. And they love chasing birds. Oh how they love chasing birds! Birds, ducks, geese. Anything fowl really. I have videos of M running around Centre Island squealing after every winged creature in sight.
I know they love these things because they hate leaving them when it's finally time to come away. I know it from the look on their faces as they play so seriously and with such concentration. I know it from their laughter, joy and complete abandon. And I know it most of all because of the matching joy and serene contentment that fills me watching them.
Our lives are filled with many hopes, dreams and plans. It is my dearest wish that these present moments and causes of joy stay with them as they grow. To keep the child-like while dispensing with the childish. To grow strong and rooted in goodness, simplicity and love God's wondrous creation.