Walking Together

Dear Marshall,

I decided a couple of months ago that I needed to get more exercise. It was hard to find the time to walk alone, because I am always either working or taking care of you kids during the day. But you seemed like you might be old enough to handle walking in the woods, so I started taking you on afternoon hikes with me.

These hikes work out well for the whole family. You and I spend quality time together, plus we get fresh air and exercise. Your father gets some time to himself while we’re gone, because we go during Livia’s nap. Livia sleeps better when you’re not around making a ruckus.

You’re already starting to learn the names of places in the woods, and you ask to go to the Scenic Overlook, Lichen Ledge, and other locales. We talk about plants, and I show you lichens, mosses, and ferns. You’ve learned to recognize the thorny plant that grows along the sides of some paths. When you see it, you say, “Prickers and thorms!” You hold my hand most of the way, but especially when we’re walking downhill. You say, “It’s too swippery!” and we go extra slow. One day we sat on a big rock and watched a woodpecker climb up a tree. Then you picked up a long stick and used it to “peck” at a tree.

Sometimes after our walk we have a treat together. Today we had decaf tea and cookies. You drank your tea and you said, “Nice and warm. Now I feel better.” We relaxed on the daybed and read Dr. Seuss’s The Foot Book together. Then, when I seemed tired, you tried to put me to bed. I pretended to throw a tantrum, and you brought me every stuffed animal until I was satisfied. Then you tucked me in and turned out the light. What great parenting skills you’ve learned!

Thanks for this time together, Sweets. I could not take these walks without you, and I wouldn’t want to.

Love,

Mom

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