I am messing with the straps of my new backpack-thingy that has officially taken over for the diaper bag and my seconds are numbered. The biggest can undo everyone’s carseats, the littlest can work a minivan door like nobody’s business.
My backpack adjusted, I fish for my camera as the moments to capture blur past. Stick finding, rock throwing, what bird is that? can we go down there? All before I catch their steps.
There is a wooden dock over a pond a ways down the trail. I’m hoping we can make it all the way, sit and eat lunch and then take our time hiking back the way we came. But it’s just me with them and last year it took so long for their short strides to arrive at the water, I thought we would never make it back to the van. Little legs were worn out before we hit our halfway point and I dreamt of a stroller, a wagon, a bike with a huge basket, anything to relieve my balancing them all.
I haven’t finished thinking about the distance and we are there. My backpack thumps at my spine as I rush to get ahead of everyone. I try to point out lily pads but they explain where the frogs are instead and I shhh them so we don’t disturb a pretty bird and they tell me it is probably a robin because its belly is orange.
We walk on further for hiking sticks and wishing dandelions and then turn back, deciding on our new Halfway. There is talk of counting to 100 and preschool field trips and snack day tomorrow and they shoot ahead again. The first one asks for a lift in our final stretch. I call ahead to slow down the race to finish.
They look so much bigger close up.
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