While we might associate learning with school days, I've witnessed first-hand the growth and development that naturally unfold during the so-called lazy days of summer. Our short Nova Scotia summers force all of us to take advantage of any opportunity to enjoy these warmer months of the year. Chi-Chi and Muffy are most often out the door before I even have a chance to brush my teeth or take a sip of my morning tea. These little guys are living life to the fullest this summer - drinking up the sun, getting up close and personal with nature and stretching and challenging their young growing bodies.
With a schedule free of set plans, both little guys have spent the last two months following their hearts' desires. We may have spent our winter playing hockey, but the true passion this summer is cycling. Chi-Chi and Muffy have approached cycling with an incredible amount of focus and tenacity. They have spent untold hours cycling around our meager two-car garage! As a result of their passionate efforts, both boys have crossed some significant milestones this summer. Sweet little Muffy, determined to keep up the pace with older brother, learned to pedal his two-wheel bike. Chi-Chi recently shed his training wheels. This is a memorable milestone in any child's development and I remember this specific childhood moment in my own life quite vividly. The pride and sense of accomplishment beams from their grubby little faces as they explore their new-found freedom and independence. As a bystander to all the action, I most often sit quietly and knit, marveling at their inner-drive and self-taught accomplishments. How wonderful to witness the positives resulting from stubborn and strong-willed tendencies that often challenge me as a parent.
Despite the "damp" weather this season, we've also clocked a fair number of hours in the water. Chi-Chi approached his aquatic endeavors with the same focus he took to the bike track. Equipped with a mask and snorkel, he can certainly out swim Mommy with her pathetic dog paddle stroke!
Witnessing the immense amount of self-taught learning both Chi-Chi and Muffy experienced this summer, reinforces my belief that children need unscheduled time. They need time to fiddle and tinker and experiment with the world around them. They need time to discover what they love and do what they love. As a mother, I realize I need to follow their lead at times, allowing them the time they need to pursue their passions.
As the days grow shorter and the mornings cooler, I feel a tad sentimental. We will all hang on tightly to these fleeting summer days. Little Muffy attended his first day of preschool orientation this morning. I jumped at the opportunity to give Chi-Chi some quality one-on-one time, doing something I was certain would fill his heart with joy. After picking up a much needed and coveted kickstand for his set of wheels, I took him down to Point Pleasant Park in the city. He tore up and down the trails like a speed demon. He had Mommy eating dust as she struggled to jog along in her ridiculous flip flops in the thirty degree heat!
So it seems, the flowers in my garden are not the only things blossoming beautifully around here!