We had a lovely fall walk today. Mia likes to walk along (instead of ride in the stroller) and, since we are trying to encourage independence and self-directed exploration, we try our best to accommodate her desire to walk. Of course, that means we move a bit more slowly than if she were in her stroller. At the Post Office, she wants to open the box and take out the mail. At every stair case, she wants to go up and down by herself. And all along the way, she wants to stop and study various twigs and leaves and flowers and rocks and bugs and…you get the idea. Eventually, she’ll ask me to pick her up (at which point I explain that our options are walking or riding in the stroller) and then happily ride along, eating snacks and sing-song talking. But she is walking further and further these days.
It is sloooooow going. And it sometimes — er, maybe often — requires intense effort on my part to NOT say “hurry up” or just pick her up and carry her or put her in the stroller. (As a side note, here is a great little piece about our “hurry-up world”: http://www.handsfreemama.com/2013/07/16/the-day-i-stopped-saying-hurry-up/)
But I am learning. I am learning to enjoy the slow walks and even the moments when we stand around one spot for 10-20 minutes. I especially enjoy watching her learn about the world and see what interests her. I am learning (or remembering that quote we’ve often read?) that it is not about the destination but about the journey. The journey can be enjoyed or endured, and I have to remind myself that the only deciding factor is how I chose to perceive it. I am still learning. And Mia is an excellent teacher.
Today, our walk to the park turned out to be a four-hour outing. We studied leaves and rocks, checked the mail, watched a neighbor launch her inflatable kayak for a final before-the-winter float down our river, walked up and down hills and through leaves, played at the play ground, tried a new slide (a BIG one!), walked on the balance rope contraption, watched people, sang songs, and walked slowly. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hope you are enjoying your journeys, where ever they may take you.