Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snow & Sand

A few weeks ago, we drove a couple of hours up into the mountains and this is the sight that greeted us.

We stayed and played in the snow, having to forge new trails in order to get away from the too crowded hills near the parking lot.  There was so much snow, we sank up to our hips.  Except for the kids who got off lucky and only sank to their ankles.  Shaggy was trying his best to forge a nice, smooth sledding route.

J spent most of his time crawling, rolling and throwing the snow.  Here, he had been repeatedly falling face-first into the snow so he could eat it.

I noticed an interesting thing about J and his anxieties on this trip.  We met some friends up there and NONE of his normal social anxiety behaviors made themselves known.  He acted NORMALLY.  He let his guard down.  He begged another mom to bury him in the snow after watching her do it to her own daughter.  He DIDN'T ask me, even though I was standing right there.  He grinned the entire time the snow was being piled on top of him.  He uttered not a single protest when another dad picked him up and set him on his sled to go down the hill.  He even grinned through that.  Usually, the simple act of a non-family member touching him, sends him into lockdown mode, or worse.  But he was fine with all of this.  He even initiated conversation with other people, which is almost unheard of for him.

And it occurred to me that there is something deep within his soul that BELONGS to the elements.  He is at home among them.  He is drawn to anything and everything belonging to the natural world.  He is fascinated by even the simplest things found outside--leaves, sticks, rocks, pinecones (especially pinecones!), snails, flowers.  These things bring him tremendous joy.

I think that joy must somehow overshadow his anxieties, causing them to melt into the background.  It explains why he was so comfortable taking swimming lessons last summer.  I was dumbfounded by how well he did and how much he loved it.  But the element of water made him feel at home and he was free to disregard his anxieties.

It seems the same thing holds true for snow, which really is only another form of water.  But I would venture to guess he would be equally at home in the dirt, or the forest, or the beach.

Now, if I could only ensure that ALL of his future social interactions could occur out among the elements, then MY anxiety about his future could also melt away.

It took R a while to warm up to the snow, so to speak.  She wanted to be carried . . . A LOT.  Until we dug a snow pen for her to safely walk around in.  Then she turned adventurous and began climbing out to walk around on the more treacherous, non-packed snow.

And just a few weeks after the snow trip, we found ourselves here, at a butterfly sanctuary.  Sadly, we were too late in the season to see many butterflies.  So we walked 5 minutes to the beach.

Where the kids reveled in the warm sun and cold waves.

R was pretty much terrified of the waves, but she loved the sand.

S built a pretend campfire in order to roast pretend marshmallows.  Which she and everyone else proceeded to pretend to eat.  And enjoy.

The fact that McQueen was peeking out of J's britches as he was trying to climb up the sand dune, had Shaggy and I in stitches.  His pants were so wet and heavy, they wouldn't stay up.  But I guess, if I want to be truthful, I should say that I was really the one doing most of the laughing.  Shaggy was laughing a little, from the distance, but mostly he was telling me to stop taking pictures and pull up J's pants.  Which I did . . . eventually.

My crew, watching the sun set.


I know we sometimes complain about living where we do.  The air quality is horrible.  The schools aren't the greatest.  The summers are suffocating.  The politics aren't quite our cup of tea.

But I realize that the fact that we can make day trips to visit both the snow AND the sand within a 3 week period is something that should be appreciated.  And I do appriciate it.  And I'm sure that I will look back on these events with longing one day as I'm watching Shaggy shovel snow off our walks . . . from the window . . . with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand. 


Krewson Family said...

Oh man I cant believe how big your girls are, I remember when J was born! :) Hope your family is doing well.

Mom said...

I love the way your posts open a window for me - a window into your life and, every so often, into your heart.