This was originally sent in my newsletter this week. The response from readers was amazing – thanks so much to the many of you who replied to let me know you enjoyed reading it or it made you cry! I am posting it on the blog as well, so it can be more easily found.
We started term four this week and it marked a new milestone in our family life. Term 4 was the the date we had agreed with the youngest that he could begin walking to school on his own.
Knowing the first three terms of this year would be the last I would have to walk with the youngest, I have absolutely savoured every day I have walked with him. On many occasions our walks and talks to school have made it into my gratitude journal at the end of the day.
Last term, as I would be going over with him all the safety precautions he would need to take when walking on his own, I also told him how much I would miss our walks. He is such a gorgeous child, with a positive attitude and a kind heart. After thinking on this for a few days, he let me know that I could walk him to school one day a week in term four! I think he enjoyed walking together as much as I did, but he also wants to increase his independence as well.
So on Monday as it came time to leave for the walk to school, I asked the youngest if it was okay if I walked with him to the top of the hill as I needed to walk the dog and go the bakery. He was fine with that. We crossed at the traffic lights, he let me give him a kiss and hug good bye. He went one off in one direction and I was to go in the other. I stood on the spot for several minutes watching him walk off as tears welled in my eyes. As he reached the corner he turned around, waved and then he was gone.
I wasn’t crying because I was worried for him. I wasn’t crying because I didn’t think he was capable. I was crying because I have been walking kids to school for over 13 years and this was a massive milestone. None of the kids now needed me to walk them to school.
Walking the kids to school has been part of my morning routine for so long now and been a part of my morning that I have enjoyed, that it will take some time for me to adjust.
Yes there were complaints on cold days about walking. Yes there were occasions when I was pushing a pram up our steep hill with a baby and a toddler on the buggy board, and the preschooler and primary school child walking beside me fighting, when I could have torn my hair out.
But they really aren’t the memories that stick with me. The memories that stick with me are:
- Crossing over roads at certain times so we could walk in the sun.
- Leaving those few minutes earlier so the young ones could do balancing on some brick fences we passed each morning.
- Saying good morning every day and making friends with the traffic supervisors we passed.
- Teaching preschoolers about numbers using the letter boxes and car number plates on the way.
- Getting “Toasty” to smile. A man we saw every day for a few years, who would walk with a frown and a piece of toast. The kids and I had made it our goal to get a smile out of him.
- Each day we would all grin ridiculously and say good morning in our brightest voices until he couldn’t help but eventually smile at us.
- Watching the seasons change as the leaves fell and we would all guess by what date the trees would be bare.
- Playing the memory game “I went shopping” or “I spy” with hilarious contributions from toddlers and preschoolers as we walked.
- How after walking the exact same way for over eight years, the youngest two decided on new ways for us to walk.
- The wonderful crunch of crushing acorns together as walked.
- Having competitions kicking the conkers from the plane trees down the streets.
And all of these memories came from a simple part of our morning routine. Our morning walks taught me many years ago that as a mum there are so many opportunities for me to turn the mundane into memories. Kids really do love spending time with us and by being present, being calm and being prepared to have a little fun in everyday moments, we can change them from being moments that will go in a blur, to moments that will be etched in our memories forever.
PS. Planned + Present is open for registrations until Friday 12th October. Planned + Present is my 7 week online course to help mums move from distracted and disorganised to planned and present. It is designed to help you clarify purpose and priority in your life, so you can spend more time being with the family and creating memories. Click here to find out more and sign up!