This summer has been glorious. It has been slow, uncluttered and deliberate. It has been uncomplicated. Moments of serenity have peppered the routine whining, that at this stage of the game is more like the soundtrack to my life; a white noise that occasionally demands to be hushed.
Almost one month in and I can say so far this has been my favourite summer with my boys. My favourite summer since becoming a mom.
The choices that I have made this past month have been mindful. After a grueling winter trapped much of the time inside, my only desire for this summer was to be outside.
It was years ago, my first born was still an infant, tucked into his snowsuit with just his rosy cheeks exposed to the cold air, when I pushed our red stroller up and down the city sidewalks. The thick treaded tires ploughed through the snow and my son cooed contentedly. It was when I was stopped at a traffic light that an older lady, weighed down by her heavy wool coat peered into the stroller. She smiled and asked me if the bundle was a boy or a girl. When I replied a boy, she said that she had one piece of advice for me. I bristled. I was hesitant to listen. I was tired of well-meaning strangers giving me their two-cents on everything from feeding to sleeping and hat wearing.
“Sometimes a boy just has to run free outdoors.”
Most intended perils of wisdom have been forgotten over the years, but this one has stuck.
It didn’t take this crippling winter juxtaposed with the summer that proceeded it for a what felt like a fleeting minute to confirm that, yes, sometimes a boy just has to run free outdoors.
This summer has been the summer of running free.
The boys have passed more of their waking hours outside. They’ve toiled in the garden, snorkelled in the sea and fished the lake. Untethered by any schedule they have indulged their curiosities. They’ve asked questions and sought out answers. They’ve collapsed in bed exhausted with tanned skin, grazed knees and dirty feet.
I’ve watched my sons gently pick up snails, caterpillars and geckos. I’ve watched them marvel at how small a person is in comparison to an ocean, but how powerful a human’s actions can be.
My middle son, devastated to learn how lionfish are encroaching on Caribbean sea life schooled his brothers resulting in a serious discussion that united them together as eco-warriors. My misty-eyed boys have brought the plight of the monarch butterflies and the serious threats facing the bee population to my attention. It’s humbling and inspiring to witness how awestruck they are by nature.
The idea of nature-deficient children and what Louv suggests that will mean for the well being of our society, is frightening to me.
It’s as frightening to me as drowning polar bears.