Since the Hubs promised me that he would finally take down the Christmas lights on our house this Saturday, rain or shine, we all got bundled up to do just that.
Well, really, Maddie and I were there for moral support. I thought she'd have fun bombing around in the front yard while I actually attempted to help and de-light our front tree.
She thought better, and decided it was time for a trip to the park. Since we had an hour until lunchtime, I was like, eh, whatevs, park it is.
About 1/4 of the way to the park I remembered just why it is so stupid to wear jeans in cold, windy, winter weather. Because they get stiff and make your legs feel like icicles. Remember that feeling?
But onward - to the park we went. And upon getting there we were greeted with a desolate winter desert of a park. Of course we were the only people there. It's like minus-a-thousand with the windchill.
I played the diligent mom, kept asking Maddie if she was too cold, if she wanted to go home. She just kept looking up at me from her puffball snowsuit, and saying "no Mommy, Maddie play in park".
Who am I to be the killjoy mother? And it was around this time that I started thinking/remembering to myself - dude - I've been this cold and colder plenty of times. Yeah, maybe not recently, but remember when you were just that little bit older in elementary school, and were far too cool for snowpants, but holy cow it was freezing out when you walked to school?
So we played. Well, I watched her play. Up and down the climber thing. Down the slide a few thousand times. Onto the bouncy horse spring thing. She was tearing it up.
However I started questioning myself. Thinking, wow, all these people driving by are looking at me like "Who is that tortuous mother risking her kids life out in this frigid cold." So I convinced Maddie after only one more slide, that this was it - we were done after this - time to go home.
As we left the park, two little girls bounded down the path, joyously headed for the play equipment. I was all like, Whew, I'm not the only pea-brained mother that takes their kid out in the arctic gale cold to play.
Then I looked up and saw the adult that was accompanying the kids. It was an 85-year old grandmother.
Of course it was.
She probably had forced the kids away from the tv and ventured out, leaving the parents snug in the warmth of their home, to get her grandkids outside.
As we walked by each other she said, "You braved the elements too?"
I smiled in return as I was picking up Maddie (who of course didn't want to walk anymore as the wind was not at our backs anymore).
"It's good to get them outside, even when it's cold" she said.
This post really wasn't meant to sound as pompous as it reads. Trust me, while I do try to take Maddie out often, but I'm just as guilty of hibernating inside just like anyone is.
The sad thing is, when we do finally venture out (even on sunny, warm, summer days) the park is often desolate. And I know it's not for lack of kids - there are a TONNE on our street. But you just don't see the kind of traffic or use of the equipment you'd expect to see.
Moving to the suburbs, as I was 8 months preggo I remember feeling the excitement of how I'd be able to give my kids a similar upbringing to what I got. Running around until the streetlights came on with neighbourhood friends. Playing in front yards/backyards/local parks. Riding your bikes up to the stores and back. Pick up games of baseball or street hockey. Swimming in neighbour's pools.
I don't think that kids get that kind of childhood anymore. Well, I know they don't. Parks don't get used. "Free-range kids" is now a label for more bohemian parents. And blahblahblah childhood-obesity-cakes.
It's sad. How do you fight that? How do you tell your kid just to "go play outside" if there's no one out there to play with?