Monday, November 17, 2014

First Family Hike

Dear Em,
We woke up on Saturday morning with no early plans for the first time in a long time. We leisurely snuggled & watched cartoons in bed for a while before enjoying breakfast at Daddy's restaurant. I would have relished a whole morning spent at home, just the three us us, but I'm also very aware that "winter is coming." We had our first flurry last week. Our time outdoors in the sun is limited. So, I suggested a family hike to take advantage of what was a beautiful day.

This was our first family hike. I'm kind of embarrassed that you're almost five, & this was our first family hike. Daddy & I love hiking. Our favorite spot is just 15 minutes away from our house, but I think it's much too challenging for you at your age. Even on a trail that isn't at all challenging, Daddy & I worry about you hiking. The thing is, you have trouble walking. You just have a really hard time watching where you are going. You're too busy looking at everything else...& walking into walls & tables & doors. Daddy & I were nervous about taking you on your first family hike, but at the age of almost five, it was time to bite the bullet.

We went to the Francis Carter Memorial Preserve in Charlestown, just down the road from where we live. Daddy & I had hiked its trails once before you were born, & it's a fairly easy spot. You were very excited & began the hike with enthusiasm. "Let's go, hikers! You can do it! Come on, hikers!" You cheered us on as we started the hike. It was incredibly adorable.

The trails were covered in leaves, making it sometimes hard to see the path. You had no clue where the paths actually were & often walked through small brush & sticks. Daddy & I encouraged you to identifying the trail by looking for where the path was cleared, you know, the areas that aren't filled with brush & sticks. We also taught you how to look for the trail markers. You continued to frequently make your own trail, but you did well for the most part.

Although it was your first family hike, you developed in your role very quickly. "I'm the Scout Leader," you very solemnly announced to us. You went from novice hiker to Scout Leader in less than 15 minutes. Soon, our Scout Leader (& you referred to yourself in the third person as "Scout Leader" for the rest of the hike) became very cautious about danger. You let us know that we were hiking deep into "Danger Forest." You stopped us approximately every 35 seconds so you could stand on rocks to "check for danger." The trail seemed quiet & pretty enough to me, but you very seriously told us we were heading towards...gasp...danger.

Just as we expected, you fell down quite a few times. I worried each time that we would be rushing you to the hospital with broken bones, but after each fall you bounced back up with an "I'm okay" to put my worried face at ease. You actually hiked well, scaring any possible wildlife away with your loud chatter. Your excitement over the hike & your vivid imagination put a smile on my face the whole hike.

In between numerous stops for danger checks & small rock climbs, we hiked almost a mile along the yellow trail. You were disappointed when we announced that it was time to turn back. You wanted to hike the blue trail & find purple & pink & gold trails. You were enjoying your role as Scout Leader & wanted to discover more of the "dangerous" trail. I held your hand on the way back, hoping we could pick up our pace a little & minimize the stops to check for danger. You enjoyed hiking hand in hand with me & decided you were ready to share your scout leader role. You gave Daddy the title of Mini Scout Leader & myself the title of Scout Leader. You joyfully announced that we were Scout Trooplets.

By the end, you were reciting troop mantras/prayers you had made up. You made me repeat after you. "Scout Leader Trooplets always pray their hay & thank God for this wonderful world. Amen." Your little legs were tiring as we made our way back to our car, but you fiercely told me "Scout Leaders never give up."

"I think we need to enroll her in girl scouts," Daddy smiled. I feel as though in an hour you made your very own scout organization. I'm so thrilled you enjoyed our first family hike so much, & that hiking is something we can now share together as a family. I've always loved hiking, but hiking with you will puts an even bigger smile in my heart.

I love you so,

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