Sabbatical- Day 22, The Real Test Begins

We have been travelling for over three weeks.  So far, so good, but we have had the luxury of a few nice, long stops when we needed them.  Staying with family for 4-5 days at a time, resting, being pampered, and doing laundry.  No more of that.  For the rest of the trip, we will fall asleep in a new place each night, alternating being camping and hotels.

One of the best parts of this trip is contemplating the interactions of my kids.  I love watching how easily they make friends.  It is not surprising that they can walk onto a playground and have a buddy mere moments later- I’ve seen them do it a thousand times at parks and splash pads.  But its still amazing to me how uncomplicated that process is- no hang ups from past interactions, no worries about getting hurt or the future of the relationship.  Just sweet, simple companionship for however long it lasts.

The boys made a friend, Tobie, the morning we were packing up our campsite at Yellowstone.  They happily played with his toys, his parents nice enough to invite them into their campsite so Ben and I could load the car.  As I was clipping Liam into his car seat, he said “Wait! I didn’t hug Tobie goodbye.” He ran over and squeezed him as if they were life long friends.

Children are so free with their affection and open in their expressions with words.  Many times on the trip, Liam and Kellen will hold hands as they walk around amusement parks or on trails.  I know this will end.  I have never seen two adult brothers walking along holding hands.  It makes me sad to think it will go.  I love what those hands represent- I love you, I want to be connected to you.

Liam filled out a postcard for a friend from school and wrote nothing more than “I love you.” I hope he will always give love so freely.

The most fascinating thing is how little is required to make them happy (sometimes anyway).  Last night, we went to dinner at a restaurant near a lake.  After ordering, I took the boys outside for a walk to get some energy out before the meal.  Kellen happened upon a patch of grass and began running.  He actually raised his arms over his head and squealed with joy just to be moving fast.  The lake had large rocks on the shore, and the boys climbed all over them, declaring themselves kings when they made it to the top of the heap.  Grass, rocks, and movement.  That’s all it takes.

I know there are reasons adult do not act with this type of abandon.  Good reasons.  But wouldn’t be nice if we could let go of all that knowledge for a day, and just be thrilled by the action of running, hold hands with our brothers and sisters, and speak the words “I love you” any time they entered our heads?  The world of small children is a pretty magical place to be.

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