About 15 seconds out, I realized this was not going to be what I had hoped for. Lincoln was pushing on at about the pace of a snail working its way through some Black strap molasses. Atley was whining that she couldn't get on her bike, period. 2 minutes later and about every 5 minutes after that she had to sit down on the dirt to dump out bits of sand and gravel that made their way into her pink Crocs. We finally made it to the paved trail behind our house and I had hope stirring again. I had it - a brilliant idea! I would run ahead of my kids for about 15 seconds then wheel back around the other way and run towards them. (Running in circles - it's the only way to do it with kids.) It wasn't perfect, but it was kind of working! Until I realized that we needed to cut through a couple more desert paths as there was no way my kids could ride their bikes through the whole back trail and around the entire development. By the time we made it through the sandy portion of the walk, with me carrying Atley's bike, I had pretty much resigned to the fact that today was just a day to walk, and very slowly at that.
I wanted to get back home, give myself a mini pity party and a good shower - not that I had earned it with a great sweat or anything. But 4 days - that's pushing it, even for me. And that's no April fool's day joke, folks. So when Lincoln said, "Mom! Trash!" indicating that he saw a plastic Arizona juice bottle to pick up and throw away, my knee jerk reaction was, "No, we're not picking up trash today." I thought about it a second longer and the Spirit gently nudged, "Go on and pick it up." So I did. Suddenly it was like all I could see was trash. Trash! Trash was everywhere and it needed thrown away or recycled! We were moving slowly, but that was incidentally the perfect pace to make a difference in my neighborhood. Instead of wishing to just get home, I realized that this was a teaching moment for myself and my children. I started to direct and encourage my kids to pick up all the trash they could find along our path. And by the time we made it home we had acquired quite the pile:
(I found it poetic that almost every item we found to pick up was related to some self-indulgent vice. But that is another post for another day.)
We recycled what could be recycled, threw away what needed to be thrown away. And we went inside and washed our hands very well. :)
Today, my kids helped me move past a self-oriented objective toward something better. I don't know how many times they have to do that a day, week or month before I realize that's just what motherhood is, but I just relearned this lesson for the umpteen millionth time now. My track record (no pun intended) suggests this won't be the last time, either.
Atley "washed" her hair with the hose when we got back home. She was excited to be a helper and put her find in the recycle bin.
And Jocelyn? She's content being her beautiful little self. She lights up my life with her beaming face. So much joy in one little person. I can't get enough of this gal.
Here's to motherhood, and moving through today just slow enough to ruin all our plans, learn the lessons others have to teach us, and make a difference in the process. Happy April, my friends!