Yesterday after meeting friends for an event indoors (birthday bash), another mom and I were talking about how our kids needed to run outside. We decided to meet at the park near our house and have a picnic lunch followed by some playtime. The temps were creeping towards 60 degrees and it was glorious. My friend and I were comfortable in our pants and jackets and our children ran joyously through the field playing baseball, digging in the sand and playing on the playground equipment in bare feet. AJ wore shorts and a t-shirt. I had tried to convince him earlier in the morning that it wasn't quite that warm, and finally gave up after much argument and decided to go with the logical consequence line of thinking (he'll be cold) but he just didn't seem to care. The 4 kids (my older three and our friend) were hilarious. It didn't seem to phase them that there was still snow on the the north facing surfaces and obstructed areas of the playground or that the wet mucky mess was very cold. They ran barefoot without a care in the world. As they "slid" into home base during their baseball game and sent mud flying everywhere, their joy and happiness couldn't have been more evident. To them, the only thing that mattered was that they were outdoors, soaking up the sunshine and the fresh spring air. We had intended to be out a short time and found ourselves finally packing things up after three hours of glorious playtime as the rains moved in.
Perhaps the greatest part of the afternoon was watching little LJ explore his world. Last year, he explored that park primarily from my arms and occasionally the swing. He was tentative initially and wasn't sure what to think of the sand and mud as he crawled along. Pretty soon, after some reassurance, he was right in there with everyone else. He was crawling through the mud without care. He has a unique crawl so his pants were completely wet and muddy on one leg from the knee down, dry on the other and very wet on his bottom! To him, that didn't matter as he was focussed on a mission. He discovered the joy of going down the slide, crawling over tot he toddler climbing structure and making his way up the three steps to the top of the slide and going down again. The area at the side of the slide was a mixture of snow, ice, water and wet sand. He loved it! He laughed out loud, squealed with delight as he crawled around and had all of us laughing and enjoying ourselves almost as much as he was. It was incredibly heart warming. One thing that became very evident was that I will have my hands full chasing him around this summer. He isn't walking yet but he crawls very quickly and climbs without fear. He will definitely give me a good workout!