Sometimes I "make" Lucas go on a little walk around the 'Hood with me after dinner. It used to be that he dreaded this inconvenience, and would use all bargaining tools at his disposal to get me to change my mind. That just meant that he complained and cried until I gave in because I hate conflict. Nowadays he just stops what he's doing, puts his shoes on, and starts telling me about the latest Pokemon news.
I LOVE these walks. I have always enjoyed exploring our neighbourhoods together, but now that he is getting older (junior high in 5 months!) I know that this time together is even more precious. Fleeting. These particular days are numbered.
If I was the type of person who gave advice to other parents I would say this: Take your kids on a "no destination-no plan" walk around your neighbourhood! Just put on your shoes, walk out the door, and ask them "left or right." And then go.
I will never be able to fully explain all the amazing, life changing things that happen on these walks. Like, we find a mailbox we didn't know existed. We learn where all the dogs live and if they bark at strangers in their alley. I learn which special Pokemon event is coming up, and Lucas learns how to safely navigate the streets and which house-shape his Mom likes best. Important shit.
It's just me and him and the world, and never is that more apparent than when we are out for a walk together. All the space out here means he isn't cornered, and he can tell me anything he wants. Sometimes that means he tells me that he doesn't want to talk about something. And we move on. We move.
With our energy focused on the moving, our minds can focus on BIG and small things that we need and want to share, to put out there. To hear in each other, and to recognize as real and important those thoughts that can only belong out in the open, in the fresh air.
So yeah. Take your kids for a walk and talk to them. And let them talk to you. I promise it will change your life. You might find a sweet fucking playground, a funny lawn ornament, or your happiest moments while you're out there.
Photos by Lucas & Mom. He knows just what I need and want to see when I take the camera back from him.