We picked two summer bucket list items for the day’s adventure. Ice cream party and a park. They went together naturally.
Our oldest daughter was away at camp for the week, so it was just me, our son and “the baby.” We made our way to the lake, a quaint and coveted place where wealth meets nature, a place we don’t frequent much at all, but should more often.
It was easy, really.
We walked to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop.
The 12 year old chose a small cup of “Cookie Dough,” and I chose a cup of “Late Night Dough” to share with the three year old. Chocolate cookie dough, peanut butter cookie dough, and cookie dough? Oh yeah, and a little ice cream with that dough, please. Who could ask for more?
As we strolled to a park bench, the 12 year old surprised me with these words.
“Thank you very much, mom. This is fun!”
Who knew a small cup of ice cream and a stroll could make a kid so happy?
We said “hi” to two dogs, Romeo and Lucky, who passed with their owners.
When the baby finished her portion of “Late Night Dough,” she rummaged around under the park bench, picking up rocks, bugs and a bunch of dirt.
On we went. Down the sidewalk. Down the street. Alongside the railroad track. Around the old train station turned museum. Past the dainty light pink roses wrapping around a trellis. Past the man sitting on the park bench who clearly knew this place all too well.
There it was.
The shining star.
A tiny community with bridges, churches, farms and depots. The miniature train wasn’t up and running, but that didn’t make the scene any less alluring.
We made one round. Two rounds. Another round. I held her hand that third time around. She walked the ledge. There was freedom in the walking, with nobody there to yell or suggest get down, go away, don’t do that. I knew she was okay up there. I had her hand most all the way. All was good. Very good.
It was time to move on.
We strolled towards the water, towards big boats, yachts, really. The 12 year old suggested we’ll probably get one of those someday. “Yeah, maybe we’ll get a boat someday,” I agreed casually, not wanting to burst his bubble quite yet. After all, maybe he will have a yacht someday.
After a while strolling the dock and holding hands vigilantly with the three year old, we came upon a launch with clean, easy access to the water’s edge. Rocks littered the ground. Nobody was around. It was just us, the water and the rocks.
The 12 year old began throwing stones, one after another after another. “I’m going to skip stones,” he exclaimed. I couldn’t remember the last time he had an opportunity to skip stones. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw him skip stones. He was great at it. Awesome, in fact. He knew just how to throw to skip, skip, skip. Ripple, ripple, ripple. So cool. So simple.
Then she began to throw stones, too. I thought she might pick up on the fact that her stones were just plopping in while his were skimming. Nope. She had no clue. She was just as elated by her plop as he was by his skim. She cheered. He cheered. She smiled. He smiled. Life was good.
After a long while of plopping and skipping stones, he said “Let’s just say here as long as we want, until we get bored.” “Okay,” I said. “Great idea.”
So we did.
And took a few pictures.
They plopped and skipped stones in the water repeatedly. As many as they wanted. I swear it was the best fun they’ve had in a long time.
The fun finally fizzled a bit. We agreed it was time to continue our walk down the dock.
We found ourselves a park on the beach, another quaint spot we’d only been once on the way to family pictures a few years ago. There was sand everywhere. So she took off her shoes. He kept his on.
Until it was time to go. Back to the dock. Past the big boats and yachts. Past the launch where they threw stones. Up and around the railroad tracks. Down the long sidewalk. And across the crosswalk to our vehicle.
It was a good day, yes. A good summer bucket list adventure.
Ice cream party and a park.
Total Cost: $8.50
Mom Lesson: I’m a much happier mom when we get out of the house.
Kid Lesson: Kids need nature.
This post is part of a summer-long series titled Summer Bucket List. This is my first summer home full-time with our three children. My hope for this series is that it will challenge me to adventure out of my mothering comfort zone, will provide opportunities to live and write simply, practically, beautifully and meaningfully, and will stimulate some some fun ideas for your summer as well! To check out the entire series, click here and you’ll be directed to the introductory post where all the posts are listed and linked for easy reading. Enjoy, friends! And have a blessed summer.