"But my legs will get too tired," one whined.
"But I just want to stay home," the other one fussed.Staying home would be easier. But on this particular day, I knew getting out would be better, for all of us. Getting out would mean stepping out of the traps we fall into where bickering and frustration make us forget how much we desperately love each other. At home, more rules are broken and patience is worn out until the mama almost breaks and turns on the TV, desperate for some peace.
But there's another way to get peace.
To get out. To breathe deep the fresh air and take in the beauty of all things earthy, green, created.
So I dug deep, ignoring the preschooler pleas for what they thought they wanted and persevered for the sake of what was really needed.
Forty minutes and twenty-two miles later we were there. The Arboretum welcomed us with its wide open gate and rushing waterfall. The curved dirt paths beckoned us to explore. We wound our way to the "slide tree."
The huge banyan stretching branches to the sky and sprawling age-old roots long and wide and deep across the ground. Nooks and crannies making perfect hiding places. Crevices as wide as bodies creating nature's playground slides.
Lizards scurrying, birds singing, leaves rustling in the breeze. Too many blessings to soak in for children to bemoan their mama's "meanness" in whisking them out and away. Too many blessings for the mama to remember to groan over the friends who couldn't come with, or the tantrums that had to be diffused, or the shoes that had to be baby wiped clean because the four-year-old put his feet in the swamp four minutes in to our out-in-the-world exploration day.
"Brother, brother, come and slide with me!"Soon they were exploring in the nearby undergrowth, coming out with dead sticks and beaming pride for their treasures.
"Wait, come and find swords and dragon tails with me, brother!"
"Whoa, that's a BIG one," each exclaimed for the other.Smiles stretched wide and the baby squealed in delight and soon was crawling up and sliding down the blessed banyan, wild to be a big boy adventuring, too.
In that sparkling moment of three brothers happy free, I almost felt like that common Arboretum dirt, stuck under nails, smudged on cheeks, caked on knees, was now sacred earth giving birth to childhood wonder and cherished memories.
And as my mama heart swelled with thankfulness for how the beauty and gifts always outweigh the daily-grind struggles, I was struck by this: I don't deserve any of it.
I don't deserve the light and joy and beauty overflowing in these moments. The harmony, peace, delight, and belly-laughter glee I surely have not earned.
I fight God even though I love Him. I fall so short. Yet, He daily picks me up. And gives me what is better.
His mercies are new every morning, indeed.
* * *
This post is inspired by Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday link-up. Five minutes. One prompt. Unlimited possibilities. So thankful to be encouraged to write by this amazing group. Come join the fun!