Leaves changing color. That’s exactly what I expected to see during our mid-October hike. In the desert of Phoenix, you just don’t see reds and oranges, so in honor of our first fall in a climate that actually experiences fall, my mission is to see as much red as possible. (And not the shade of red I see when the kids push my buttons :))
On that hike, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter flowers. (If you’re looking at the photos above thinking, “Flowers? Um, those are weeds.” I should clarify that I consider anything with a bloom or decorative piece at the end of a stem a flower.)
That night, my kids planned to “camp out” in our pop-up trailer, which was still set up from the night before when my older son and his friend slept in it. Purist campers will shudder at me calling this camping because it doesn’t involve shivering in a pitched tent. Why do that when you can have a heater, and something resembling a bed?
Nightfall came and I got the boys settled in the trailer with flashlights and a phone handset that would dial my cell phone with the press of the “redial” button. I went inside and powered up my laptop to do some blog reading. Ten minutes later, I heard the back door open and the kids came trailing in.
“We heard a noise,” my older son said.
“You’ll be fine inside the trailer.”
“I want to sleep in my room.”
I set my laptop aside and tucked them into bed. My younger son was the one who really wanted to sleep in the trailer because I wouldn’t let him tag along with his brother the night before.
“Are you okay with not sleeping in the trailer?” I asked.
He didn’t respond immediately, but when he did, it sounded something like, “Iwantedtosleepinthetrailerandsaidthenoisedidn’tbothermebuthecameinsideandIdidn’twanttostayoutsidealone.” Tears followed.
“So you wanted to stay out there?”
“Yes, but not alone.”
And just like that my plans for the evening changed.
Much like I didn’t expect to see flowers blooming on a fall hike, I hadn’t anticipated being curled up next to my seven-year-old in a pop-up trailer. I was disappointed I didn’t get a chance to catch up on blogging (catch up, haha…I don’t ever really get there!) but I needed to be with Pickles.
I became aware of the sensation of his small hand resting on my arm. I felt the magic of recognizing the making a life-long memory in the moment it happens. Earlier that day, nature showed me the beauty in the unexpected, and in that moment, peaceful contentment eclipsed the burden of changed plans. I got it.
I’m a little wiser, and my son has a new memory of our night “camping” alone. Oh, and I bet those blogs didn’t even miss me!