Monday, October 11, 2010

Don't Fence Me In

The weather this weekend was some of the most perfect early fall weather I’ve ever experienced. Sunny and warm, but with a hint of a crisp breeze. Herb and Ryan and I spent Saturday at my alma mater, Gordon College, which is in Wenham, Massachusetts. The campus has grown considerably since I was a student, but it’s still beautiful. My favorite part of the day was going on a nature hike through the woods around one of the large ponds on campus. We had Ryan in the jogging stroller so he could get a good look at everything and everyone. He loved being out in the fresh air, listening to the birds, watching the breeze blow through the trees, and smelling the scent of fall in the air. And so did I!

But I think Ryan’s favorite part of the day was after the walk, when we went out to the soccer field and let him walk and crawl around unfettered. We don’t have a very big yard (or very big rooms), so he doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to just take off and crawl as far as he wants without running into some obstacle.

But on the huge quad – which fortunately, wasn’t especially crowded – he could take off and just keep going without us having to stop him. And he took advantage of it! He crawled after other babies, and bigger kids, and dogs. He found a longboard (a kind of extra-long skateboard) that a student had laid down while he chatted with friends and happily examined it and spun the wheels. He watched the girls’ soccer team play. He explored other strollers, and feet, and grass and leaves and sticks. It was a kind of freedom that he’d never experienced before, and he reveled in it!

He’s at the age where he encounters a lot of frustrations – either because I won’t let him do something that he wants to, or because he can’t figure out quite how to do something that he wants to. To when he has the chance to explore without boundaries (and therefore, without frustrations), I want to give it to him. There are so many times that I have to say no for his own safety, so I love finding a place where I don’t have to say no, and I don’t have to rein in his curiosity, and I don’t have to frustrate him by stopping him mid-exploration.

And it was a great day for all of us to not be fenced in.

Bookmark and Share