Chasing him down the beach

This is real life, after all

He's a "small guy," not a baby and not a big kid.


My second-born says he's a "small guy" or a "small boy." He's not a baby (because babies don't get to eat candy or watch TV), but he's not a big boy like his brother is. This role allows him to curl up on a lap a play "baby Jesus," but also take advantage of preschool age benefits like eating chocolate.


He has taken to running away when that is not the game, just like he used to do when he was going on two years old. Except now he's three, "faster, stronger, and smarter" than a terrible-two-er, as my mom has pointed out.


Like Monday, when we were supposed to be getting in the car to go to school. He ran out of the garage into the back yard community green space and refused to come back. I can't really blame him - spring seems to be arriving and it was finally a beautiful day.


Then there was yesterday, when we biked to the school playground. When he felt ready to go back home (hunger, as usual, was a determining factor in this desire), he just started walking down the sidewalk and around the corner. His brother was halfway up the climbing wall, rain boots tossed to the side, so that gathering up brother and boots and bikes was going to be a drawn out affair and the toddler was already on his way home.


This is the kind of occurrence that tries my patience.


But I know where it comes from. A few weeks ago our family took a hike to the beach. We tumbled out of the forest after about an hour's hike, down the grassy hill, across the road to Kemil Beach in the Indiana Dunes National Park. The sun felt so warm we wanted to take our coats off. The huge waves were loudly crashing against what was left of the shelf ice, which was starting to look crumpled (though still high and impressive) against the sand. Because the waves can't reach the sand, the beach was littered with stones ground smooth by the lake.

Sand, shelf ice, and industry


My second born did what we all probably wanted to do: he grinned and took off running down the beach, for the pure joy of it. I ran and caught him, and of course when I set him down, he took off running again, looking back at me and laughing.


This sprint down the sand was not on my agenda for my time at the beach. I was hoping to relax, take in the shelf ice, talk with my parents and sister's family, who were also along on this hike. But my small guy couldn't resist the pull of nature. And I'm his mother, so he pulls me.


I find as a mother that I have many things on my agenda, but that my children remind me/demand me to let go of that agenda. I learn, with their help, that my agenda will be there when I get back. Or it won't be, and I won't care.


This blog and website are high on my agenda. At the moment, though, I am chasing some things down the beach.


I have taken on some new activities in my life. I continue to teach Spanish at Indiana University Northwest. This year I am also going to be the Market Manager for the Coffee Creek Farmers Market, a market that takes place on Wednesday afternoons from April to November. I am thrilled about this new job! It combines my master's in rural development with my interest in local food, community building, and being outside.


This new job is also causing me to adjust to a new schedule, and my blog has fallen a bit to the side. As soon as I opened this page to write, I felt a sense of relief wash over me. I know that writing helps me to make sense of the world and my place in it. I also love the tap of the keyboard, the search for photos, the exploration of topics... I am not quitting the blog. I will however, take a little break while I get my bearings.


My "small guy" also likes to take candid photos, as in this one which shows a rare opportunity for my husband and me to have a conversation over a meal. Usually the kids are dominating the discussion.


I will continue to write, but I will also do some cool live events like my conversations with Korry Shepard or my work with Living Green Garden or on local water stewardship. I invite you to stay connected!


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Thank you for reading the New Backwater blog! I hope that you find ideas and perspectives here for making connections between the US and Latin America, for finding balance by leveraging tools of the past with lessons of the present, and for achieving transformation to make the world a better place. I'm trying to work on these things every day, and I'm grateful you're sharing that journey with me.


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