Sometimes it’s the days you least expect to be anything special, that make you thankful for the life you lead. For me, Friday was one of those days. After a week of too many small things going wrong, I had almost written it off entirely. My original plan for the day was to take Darcie to our local farm. However, when I woke up and realised how cold it was I decided not to do the long walk to the farm with Darcie freezing in the pram, but instead to take her for a little walk in some woodland nearby to us. At least if she was walking she wouldn’t get so cold and we could both get some fresh air and relieve some of that cabin fever we were both suffering from after a rainy week indoors.I grew up in this area and so I’ve always known of this woodland, I used to go running there when I lived at home and have walked there many times too. For some reason it had never occurred to me to take Darcie there but I’m so glad I finally thought of it. She loves nothing more than putting on her puddle suit and her welly boots and going on an adventure. Usually our ‘adventures’ take us to the same places; the tiny park down the road, or just round the village in circles. She loves being outside no matter what we are doing, but when I took her to explore in the woodland, she was in her element more than I’ve ever seen her before.
She loved collecting all the sticks and stones she could find. She put them all in the stroller and then when we came to a huge puddle she threw them all in, one by one, yelling splash as each one hit the water. She spent so long just splashing in the puddles, going in much further and splashing more enthusiastically then she usually would. I noticed how amazing her balance is as she carefully slid down ditches and climbed over slippery fallen branches. We came to a stream and she strode on in, splashing as she went and picking up big stones to make even bigger splashes. At one point a dog ran over to her, out of the blue, and I thought for sure that she was going to get startled and fall over in the stream. But she didn’t, she held her own as the dog sniffed all around her and then got bored and ran away again.
I saw her come into her own. She was braver than usual, she was as careful as she needed to be not to get hurt but she explored the world around her to her fullest potential. When we stopped to have a chocolate biscuit break she took the biscuit from me, walked a while away and sat down to tuck into her snack. Usually at home she would want me to break it into pieces for her and give them to her one at a time, but that day she wanted to do it herself. I know that to some people that’s just a toddler eating a biscuit, but I know her better than that. That was her being her own person, doing her own thing.
We stayed in the woods for around an hour and a half before she waded too far into the river and filled her welly boots and puddle suit with water. I had to take her wet clothes off her and wrap her up in my fluffy coat to keep her warm on the way home, and she slept in the stroller, warm and content, with a belly full of biscuits after her morning of adventures.
It really is the little moments that take my breath away and make me realise what a wonderful little girl I am raising. She has her own spirit, her own mind and her own abilities. She loves being outside, she loves exploring, she loves running free and being wild in the world. Days like Friday make up for weeks like last week. All the stressful times, the days when you feel like all you’ve done is say ‘no’ and all they’ve done is whinge; they are all worth it when you see your child as happy and content as Darcie was in the woods that day.
Gentle and delicate is her soul. But wild is where her heart lives.
*Shout out to any old school Taylor Swift fans who got the reference in the title too.