So , as it goes, winter draws in on us. A time to say goodbye to the Autumnal harvest of the Feijoa and hello to the early morning firestarting. A time to hunker in and toast marshmellows with your delightful offspring and sing songs of sunshines and frolicking. To wrap up warm and jump in puddles with said offspring, throwing all cares and woes of winter sickness aside. If your Dad is Ned Flanders, that is.
In my family it conjures up times of telling my 2 yr old, 17 times, to stay inside and shut the door as I chop kindling in the dark freezing cold at 6.45am. It is time to play family referee as they tease , taunt and tackle each other throughout the day. A time to be told one minute that I am the BESTEST Mum in the world……. and the next minute that I am hated and I won’t be having a piece of Birthday cake at offending childs next birthday party.( Though this sentiment changes when I point out the obvious.If I don’t get to eat said cake….I won’t be baking said cake). To clean up an epic mess after the offspring pull out all their blankets, toys and books from their rooms into the lounge and play ‘Camping’ .Winter is a time for the inner exasperated Mum.
Over the years I have found that if I can get us all out of the house and doing something, we can all actually quite like each other ( for the best part of the outing anyway). In small town NZ, with limited funds and with ages 7,4 and 2, it can be hard to come up with something that can keep us all amused and warm for some time.
Recently, I braved taking the boys for a walk to a place that I can only call ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’. It is the Pupu Hydro walk. An old hydro station that was null and void for some time and was rekindled a few years back. It is a breathtaking walkway in the Waikoropupu Valley. I can run it in 45 mins and often do. Especially when I am needing to think about things. I put the MP3 on and just thrash it out with The Black Keys ,in the paradise of NZ nature. My eldest and I have walked it together before. He was dead keen to do it again. My 4 yr old loves walks . Though for him a walk is up the road and back. With a spot of frolicking and a bit of noseying in peoples letterbox’s. My 2 yr old likes the after dinner walk. Up the road a bit, until he decides he can’t be arsed anymore and I have to carry to him.
With playlunch packed and warm clothes donned, we set off for our family adventure. I felt very anxious that I was throwing them in the deep end and I would eventually have to call a rescue helicopter in , due to the boys refusing to take another step. Hell hath no fury and stubbourness like that of a tired child. What can take me and my eldest boy ‘Tahi’, 1 hr 40 mins to walk, took all 4 of us, 3 hrs and 15 mins. And they all LOVED it. My 2 yr old ‘Toru’ was incredible. He walked at least half of the approx 5.6 km walk. In fact the only time that he screamed and carried on like a pork chop was when I was over waiting for him to stop and look at every stone,tree and insect. I would pick him up and power walk to gain some time( which I did quite a bit in the last km.Mostly because I knew my coffee missed me).He’d scream like a banshee. After a good 1.5 km of solid uphill and a few frustrated whinges, we stopped at the lookout point and had our playlunch. At this point, I must admit, I did consider just going back the way we came. I could see this was going to take forever and I am not the most patient person in the village. In fact, it seems… I am forever hurrying the boys. For what…I couldn’t tell you. But I seem to have permanent sense of urgency in my being. And a total intolerance for dilly dallying.They can never seem to move fast enough or quietly enough. This does seem to work against me in this parenting yolk.
I decided we would push on however and I would be ‘PRESENT’ , live in the moment whilst walking the walk. We pushed on and had a blast. The 2 older boys even held hands for parts of the walk.Much to my shocked delight. Kodak moment much?! They loved the bridges and the waterways. It was so great to see them exploring the area and smelling, touching and seeing something so precious and beautiful.
It felt soo good to just chill and let them be boys. To share something with them that on very dark days has been a reminder that being stuck in small town NZ ain’t so bad. To give them a taste of my “Band Aid”, so to speak. To share something bigger than our own selfishly driven wants of Lego ,Bayblades, quiet and another biscuit. And most of all it was amazing to have 3 little boys go to bed with tired smiles on their wee faces. A loving kiss for their exhausted mother. With no fuss. Into a worn out slumber within minutes. This was a good ‘Winter Mum’ day.
Yes indeedy , a good day indeed.