The world can be an awful place. Drivers speed up as they come to a massive puddle on a rainy day, soaking the mother with the buggy who forgets all about her child’s propensity to learn new words as she screams in frustration. The much needed coffee after a sleepless night tastes horrible and doesn’t help with an already stressful morning. The ever present guilt with every bite of chocolate, the knowledge that the jeans are a little tighter and knowing that these thoughts will hurt you most when you’re already feeling down and out. The rain, always the bloody rain. There are days where I just want to go under my duvet, curl up and not come back out.
Recently I’ve been trying to see the world through my son’s eyes. At 19 months, everything is new, everything is exciting, he has opinions on everything. He’s much braver than me, not knowing the experiences of getting hurt, of the need to play it safe – that’s what I’m there for, to keep him alive, to make sure he doesn’t get hurt. I see a rainy day, he sees puddles to jump in, the feeling of water on his face. My tired run across a road with a ridiculously short pedestrian light is his chariot ride, complete with hands in the air. Slippy wet leaves on the path make exciting crunching noises where they’re not soaked. The top of the slide gives him a view of his kingdom, there is fun to be found in everything through his eyes.
He may be a fussy eater, but when he likes something, he loves it. In particular, anything that it looks like I might really enjoy – that’s his food, and there is no point fighting him on it. Sourdough bread with butter has to be eaten in stealth during waking hours, for fear of being captured and the food demanded by my little dictator. He would live on butter if he could, last week he set upon the butter which had been left out and started to eat it by the handful until we caught him. He’s fruit mad, blueberries make him giggle and peas aren’t safe on anyone’s plate when he’s around. His innocence shows a world full of fun, colour and nuances which the daily grind can make adults take for granted.
It’s good for the mind to try to see the world like he does from time to time – let go of my adult sensibilities and start to really enjoy discovering nature, teaching him new things, picking up leaves and watching them “fly” away when we throw them. It’s nice to get away from the grownup worries, bills, the eternal cycle of physio, doctors and acupuncture, daily inane activities like laundry and dishes and bedtimes which can make it feel like Groundhog Day. The black dog takes a walk when I make the effort to do this often; he leaves me to it for which I am grateful.
I’m lucky to live in an urban area which allows me to get close to nature when I need to – not too far from the city, it’s convenience and proximity to others for coffees, random wanders and sanity-saving chats, but close to woodland walks and nature parks, fresh air and breathing space for my mind where I can show him the beauty of birds and woodland plants.
There are much worse ways to spend a Friday morning.