Sebastian is an outdoor-loving three-year-old. I take credit for the outdoor-loving part. Ever since I was physically able after his birth, we would spend time outside. Instead of driving, I would strap him to my chest and walk to do easy errands. As he got older, we incorporated hikes and many hours a week playing outside. My sanity was my motivation.
Now, sometimes I joke that I have created a monster. He struggles with having to come indoors at daycare. They tell me that he would probably be happy as could be if everyone else went in and he was left outdoors alone to play. Of course that wouldn’t actually happen, but what can I say, the kid loves to be outside.
This is our tenth Hike it Baby 30 Challenge. We’ve participated in each one and every time, I find that some aspect of our lives has evolved and made the Challenge different for us. Some months we struggled with weather. Others, we suffered through illness. Mostly, we had to find balance. As a full-time student, part-time employee, volunteer, and single mom, I personally find it hard to have the time to reconnect with nature. During Challenge months, I’m generally motivated and inspired by the community to get out there with my son.
This month has been different.
It is the first week of the HiB30 Nov. Challenge and three days of it my child has only been outside during daycare hours. I could not find the will or the energy to go for our regular evening walk. Something has changed for me. I look at everyone’s spectacular photos and read their inspiring stories in the Challenge Facebook room, but my reaction is different this time. Instead of motivating me to hop out the door and enjoy some fresh air, I find myself smiling and thinking, “How wonderful for them! Way to go, guys!” I lost my nature mojo, somehow.
Until the other night.
Sebastian and I had our normal Friday – play group, errands, etc. As I was tucking him into bed, I realized I had nothing scheduled for us to do the next day. So, I asked him (knowing full-well this could backfire and I could end up having to do something really not enjoyable for me),
“Hey buddy, what would you like to do tomorrow with Momma?”
“Have my BIRTHDAY!”, he exclaimed. (Good try kiddo, your birthday isn’t for another 11 months…).
I explained that it would not be his birthday again for a while. “Ok then,” he pondered, “how about we hike – we hike waterfall hike – we walk in the trees!”
I melted. Almost literally. My shoulders relaxed. My face went from worry to happiness. My heart almost burst with joy. THIS.
This is why we are a Hike it Baby family.
With the help of this HiB community, I’ve done such an amazing job of guiding him in his love for the outdoors. Now, when I’m weak and struggling, he is the one who is motivating me. It’s mind-boggling. It’s so wonderful.
So, for anyone feeling like they are “failing” at this outdoor Challenge at any point – remember to tell yourself: It will all be worth it. When I’m able, I’ll inspire others with my shared stories and photos. When I’m struggling, I’ll find the motivation to power through from others in this community. When I’m to the point that I have disconnected, I’ll allow my child to connect me back.
Miles or minutes, flatland or mountain, winter or summer. Miles become smiles and minutes become memories.
So, we went for that waterfall hike through the trees. My toddler motivated me to reconnect and I couldn’t be more proud, more grateful, more inspired.