"No, you inside!" Demands my toddler as I ask him kindly to come inside. I am cold, his baby brother is cranky and hungry, and I cringe each time he runs into the grass where dog poo tends to hide.
And then, once I drag him in, kicking and screaming, I nearly kick myself. Foster his love of the outdoors, you idiot, I scream to myself, inside my brain. (Does anyone else yell at themselves in their head?)
I end up reminiscing about my own childhood, a big reason why I moved back near home once I had kids. I loved the outdoors and hated being inside, I mean, inside is soooo boooring! I didn't own a gaming console and we only had a few tv channels. Outside was where it was at! I recall twilight as the time you enjoyed like the seconds before the alarm clock or last bite of ice cream, savoring the last seconds before you had to go inside.
As a child, I rode bikes, hiked, climbed trees, built forts. I played "war" and ran through the sprinklers, built snow tunnels, collected mistletoe, and collected wild edibles. I practiced the bow and arrow and atl atl, used power tools to carve designs into wood and rocks, and watched the meteor showers atop huge granite boulders. I made sled jumps and mud pies and rope swings. It was awesome. Oh, and I did all this unsupervised, just "within yelling distance", you know, before cell phones.
It seems we have lost this love of the outdoors, and this trust in our children or the world to let them play "in screaming distance" from us, untethered, unstructured, full of curiosity. In fact, one of my younger relatives actually asked me, "what do you do outside? It's so boring!" For which I about had a heart attack over. I wanted to cry. I wanted to grab her and most every other kid and transport them back in time to my time and show them what child hood is all about.
So when my son begs to come inside, I hesitate and give him just a few more minutes, letting him savor the simple joy of outdoors.