I admit it. I’m number one of four children, and I tend to be the leader. Call it natural inclination. As the big M-O-M, I tend to be the one rocking the plan together, making sandwiches and doing all that background goodness that gets things done.
You see, I got inspired (and to be honest, slightly teary) from a viral video that was going around called The Recital.
Canadian families are busier than ever. The challenge with being so busy is that they get bogged down in day-to-day tasks and often lose sight of what truly matters. Quaker Canada wanted to find a Canadian family and give them a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something that truly matters to them, so auditions were held to find them. The Recital is a story about a real Canadian family. Cue the video and the tissues.
The part that stuck with me was the Dad (Michael) at the end saying “We do crazy things for your kids, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. They won’t be kids forever.” More so, though, Dad took a step back and followed his daughter’s lead – through her passion and enthusiasm.
I admired his courage. So, I stepped up to the plate too.
This micro adventure was a challenge for me. I wanted to step back and let my kids lead for a change. Since they are 2 & 4 years olds, I wasn’t sure what adventure we would end up with (or even what obscure idea they would come up with!) I took off my leader hat and followed their lead for a day. I asked them what they wanted to do, and we went from there. I just said yes (unless it was dangerous) and followed their lead. The results surprised me, in a very good way.
I discussed with the kids the night before that we were going to have a hang out day the next day, and asked them what they wanted to do. With all the farm chaos getting ready for winter, we’ve lost sight of these simple pleasures and adventures that we do with each other. So just like that, we did it.
Stop 1: Shady Lane Estates
The kids requested visit another farm – and thankfully this was on Alberta Open Farm Day. We visited our neighbours in Barrhead at Shady Lane Estates who have an incredible amount of berries, veggies and alpacas. It was impressive family-run operation. The owners were friendly and welcoming even to little people who were in dire need of their sandwiches. Their European style strawberry tunnels with irrigation are worth a look – the system is really innovative. I look forward to my next visit to try their wines. The ladies sitting with us as we enjoyed a freezie had a lot of good things to say.
We stopped in to play at Thunder Lake Provincial Park for a little sand and surf. The kids originally said they wanted to go hiking, but when we spied this playground they changed their minds. They asked to take off their shoes – I said yes! Playing with our feet in the sand and warm breeze off the lake was incredibly relaxing. Many people tubed, SUPed and boated by while we played happily for some time. After a round of juice boxes, off we went again.
Stop 3: Geocaching on the Way Home
I admit, sometimes geocaching with my kids in tow is a little painful. I have to unhook their car seats every time to get them in and out. In addition, you have to carefully pick what caches are safe for little people to go after – not every cache on the road side is appropriate.
On the way home, a little voice piped up from the back seat asking me if there was any treasure nearby. Sure enough there was, so we picked up a couple of caches on the way home. I pointed the direction with the compass, helped navigate and signed the log. The kids found the treasure all on their own and they were really excited.
At this point on the way back, one of my two fell asleep in the car. We had talked about a swim at the local pool, but this made it clear it was time to get home. We discussed it and decided that we could swim next week and invite Daddy along.
Note to Self… Don’t Lose Sight of Quality Time
This is a sweet day that I would have missed out on if I hadn’t thrown caution to the wind and followed their lead. As busy families, we need to make time to slow down and savour these days with each other. After all that’s what we are working so hard for!