The Great Outdoor Sanctuary
We learned very early on in parenthood all about the benefits of nature and the outdoors. Jack was a very, very calm baby but on the occasion that he’d get upset, being outside under the enormous blue sky was the one thing that would calm him (and the rest of us, too). As a family, we have always spent a lot of time outdoors whenever possible. It’s a sanctuary itself, and something we became accustomed to as children ourselves having been raised in Northern California. The ocean, mountains and sunshine are plentiful and for the most part easily accessible.
We lived in a city on the East Coast that experienced each and every season in it’s entirety. The summers were hot and sticky and the winters were freezing and snowy. The hardest days of my parenting life were the ones where we were stuck indoors because of the outdoor elements; we lived in a tiny apartment and some days proved impossible to entertain toddlers day in and day out. Often, we’d go outdoors despite the rain, snow or blustery streets just to simply feel the weight of the atmosphere and fresh air on our faces. Living in California suits our wandering hearts just perfectly and by constantly being outdoors, we are expanding the conversations with our children about conservation and appreciation of our planet.
Parenting is challenging and life is hectic. This video encapsulates so many of the moments that tug at my heartstrings, and I’ll be honest, I definitely teared up watching it.
Many of our happiest times as a family are outdoors. In recent days we’ve been to the beach with Theo and we even traveled North to Tahoe for a couple days of skiing, but our happiest time in the last couple of weeks was most definitely the first family bike ride that we’ve ever taken. I can’t even count how many years it’s been since I have ridden a bicycle, but enough that I was actually concerned about remembering how. We hooked up a trailer onto Justin’s bike for Evangeline to ride in, and set a steady pace with a order from first to last and set off on an adventure through town to our favorite local park. We laughed and sang songs on the trails and made sure to pay close attention on the city streets. The communication with each other and sense of adventure was so much fun, better than any sort of contrived situation we could have paid for.
Life is generally busy for our family, and not just for Justin and me. Each child has their own set of responsibilities from homework to room cleaning to general pickup and overall attention to each other’s emotions and well-being. Obviously Beau and Evvie are mostly responsible for playing, but there are plenty of personalities to be sensitive to and aware of, including our pets. The confusion and chaos can be overwhelming at times, so it’s absolutely imperative that we each feel a sense of reprieve at some point in the day. For many of us, being outside is an instant cure-all and I feel very fortunate to live in an area where we can rely on the weather being mild enough to actually experience it.