It was a Tuesday. It should have been a regular school day with art class, chores and regular leisure activities to fill in the cracks. Instead, it was a fighting day.
From the moment the children opened their eyes, there was bickering, pestering, nitpicking, bugging, bothering, teasing and annoying. (I did not need to use the thesaurus to create that list.) After a few frustrated attempts on my part to quell the storm, I demanded that "WE ARE LEAVING!"
Everyone got dressed including hats, coats and gloves. They stuffed backpacks full of water bottles, walkie-talkies, a compass, army knives, paper and other essentials. We cleaned the house (just in case someone wanted to come use the key the realtor had to make available at anyone's whim) and left. It was a windy day, but not incredibly cold. It was the kind of day one is given as a gift in February, and one that can't be ignored.
We went to a local park that has lots of basalt pilings for climbing, trails amongst the trees for walking and plenty of hiding places for adventures. The wind only added to the excitement of the day--it made our land of make-believe more wild and unforgiving. There was still a bit of snow on the ground, but it was melting fast making mud and little rivulets run between the rocks. We had packed a lunch of cold chicken and bread and it felt so much more authentic to our play than a peanut butter sandwich and fruit snacks.
For three hours, we (well, it was mostly the children) ran, played, jumped, crawled and otherwise moved in the fresh air. No one even got close to fighting because they were too busy thinking up ways to procure food or shelter. When one fell in the mud, the others were quick to help so no one had to abandon the outside and go home.
When we finally did have to go home, the kids were tired and a little more settled. The youngest took a nap, the five-year old watched a movie contentedly, another had art class, and the oldest two went on a long bike ride.
By bedtime, everyone had pink cheeks and worn-out bodies. Everyone went to bed without a squawk and slept soundly. It was a lovely day to be remembered and it had started out so badly.
It is amazing what a little outside can do to save the whole family from the dreaded effects of cabin fever.