Despite runny noses and some difficult nights with sick kids this week, it was a wonderful week! I had the chance to spend a day with each of the kids alone and it was just so lovely to spend time with each child. Our time together was simple. Long walks to the park or in the woods. While my son was frolicking in the sand at the park, I exercised on the grass, my son laughing at some of my funny poses. As he giggled and played, I couldn’t help joining him on the slides and monkey bars. We even managed to see-saw as I figured out how to balance my weight against his. I felt like a kid again and it was so refreshing!
My walk in the woods with my daughter was met with the most magnificent array of autumn colors. The tall trees that had been so lush and green just a few weeks ago were now shedding their fiery red, orange leaves, creating a crunchy multi-colored path under our feet. The colossal clear blue sky provided a beautiful contrast to the autumn leaves and it was so nice to just clear my thoughts and pray. As my daughter turned around in her stroller every so often to face me with a beaming smile, I thought to myself, “This is my little girl, MY little girl. I don’t feel like I deserve you but yet here you are, a precious part of our family“.
As we climbed the stairs back up to the house, our little chatterbox Naomi turned to me and said “Mummy, I love ooo“. It just melted my heart. My son Caleb further encouraged my soul when he spontaneously said to me, “Mummy, I want you to be my doctor because when I’m sick, I just want you.”
My kids make me feel so loved and cherished. It’s moments like these that erase all the strife of teething, tantrums, time-outs, leaky diapers or melt-downs. It’s all a part of parenthood and those special moments with the kids make it all worth it!
When I was growing up in Kenya, I had the opportunity to climb Mount Longonot, a shapely, dormant volcano sitting quietly on the bottom of the breathtaking Rift Valley escarpment. The mountain was not all that difficult to climb and no special equipment was required. It was more like a hike if you compare it to an intimidating mountain like Mount Everest. But what I remember most about it was the mist that swirled around us as the guides stealthily led us up the mountain.
Every so often, we would hear the crack of pebbles rolling down the steeper areas of the mountain which had been eroded over time. It was hard to get our bearings. The guides instructed us to stay close together and if we ever lost sight of the person in front of us due to the mist, we were to speak loudly enough to regain contact with the group and ensure we had not become lost.
After what seemed like an eternity, we finally emerged at the top, the mist evaporating. I will never forget the view of the interior of the volcano. What had seemed to be a very dry, drab mountain from the exterior had a lush, thriving interior filled with trees. It was like a hidden paradise waiting to be discovered by those willing to push through the mist. As I turned around to take in the view surrounding the mountain, it was simply spectacular. The Rift Valley rolled away from us on every side. The ground under our feet flashed in the sparkling sun due to the rich, glassy obsidian rocks scattered all about. As we rested and ate, I was in no hurry to climb back down the mountain. I simply wanted to take it all in and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Interesting facts about Mount Longonot:
Its name is derived from the Maasai word oloonong’ot, meaning “mountains of many spurs” or “steep ridges”.
It is thought to have last erupted in the 1860s.
The mountain is home to various species of wildlife, notably zebra, giraffe, buffaloes, and hartebeest.
Weekend getaways with the kids usually involve a significant degree of preparation. There comes a moment when I must sit on our suitcase trying to squeeze in all the various kid paraphernalia one needs while away from home. Our car is a Toyota matrix (not very big) but somehow my husband manages to cram in our suitcase, car-seats, food, playpen, feeding chair, books, toys, stroller, diaper bag and let’s not forget our two children and massive dog (Great Dane-Boxer mix) who takes up the entire trunk of the car! Despite the usual drama of preparing for a trip with kids, we had a beautiful weekend in the Laurentians visiting some of my husband’s family.
The weather was perfect all weekend for outdoor activities. While Caleb, daddy and Granny veered off the road and tromped through the woods investigating various kinds of fungi and insects, I continued to walk along the road with Naomi, not wanting to push the stroller to its limits in the vast interior of the woods. It was so peaceful with tall, sturdy trees lining both sides of the road, the sun glistening in between the leaves and casting abstract shadows on the ground below. Every so often, the sparkling lake came into view as random birds called out to their companions.
It’s moments like these when I feel especially close to God. I breathed in the fresh air and took the opportunity to pray and sing. There were no requests or complaints for God that day, just a simple prayer to thank Him for his goodness and to appreciate the beauty of nature. Just then, a small deer trotted quickly past us almost as if he waited for the opportune moment to cross right in front of us. I scrambled for my camera but he was too quick for me to catch him in action. Before I knew it, he had disappeared in the dense foliage of the woods. Granny later informed me that he was probably a young, excited “teenage” deer, exploring the woods for some adventure.
After the tromp in the woods, Caleb and Granny got to work making cheese puff pastries and they were delicious! Caleb and daddy then disappeared into the woods again, sneaking in a canoe-ride and swim in the lake. The water was tranquil, undisturbed and peaceful. The “boys” had dared to cross it at this moment of complete calm and solitude. As we said goodbye to the panoramic mountains, I couldn’t help feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be blessed with family both far and near. Sometimes I just gaze at my children and wonder, “Are they really mine? All mine? Amazing!”