I’m coming to you today with a cold stout beside me, a bowl of herb-flecked, cheesy popcorn in front of me, and a mess of chocolate near me. The house smells of homemade garam masala and ras al hanout, recipes I made today for a party in the new book. I’m wearing a cozy, navy blue wool sweater, the sun is shining, and there are two adorable kittens playing nearby. Things are good.
From myself, a young Harry Potter/Assistant Groundskeeper Carl Spackler (Huxley’s scar from his fall back in June and the glasses make up the young Harry bits while his floppy hat, plaid shirt, cuffed khakis, rain boats, wheelbarrow and Gopher are the Carl components), and a goggley-eyed Hubs, we wish you and yours a safe, happy, and sweet Halloween!
Since Hubs and I both work from home, our plan when we decided to have a child was to have them always be with us. For the most part, that’s been the case. While we wrote, or did projects, or cooked, or worked in the garden or the chicken coop, our little guy has always been in a sling, on our hips, crawling around on the ground, or, now, walking beside us. And it’s worked. Until lately.
Huxley wants to be outside. All. The. Time. His name means “Outdoorsman”, so, it makes sense, really. That said, when I’m trying to meet a pending December 1st deadline for the manuscript of my new book, continually heading outside to watch Huxley as he plays doesn’t really fit into my super crammed schedule.
When we learned last summer that a newly emerging eco-community called Sacred Mountain Sanctuary had developed quite literally on the mountain ridge behind our house, we were ecstatic. We looked forward to the gatherings the community intended to host, as well as the like-minded folks we might meet. And then, we learned a few months ago about a toddler program SMS had in the works.
For the past few Tuesdays, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Huxley and Hubs have bundled up and headed over to Starseed. I get a few hours of alone time to write, Hubs gets some time with the little one, and Huxley gets some time with other children. The best part, though, has got to be the fact that the entire program takes place outdoors. That’s right-rain, snow, mud, these kids are out in it. Of course, that means careful planning on the part of the educators and parents alike, for both the curriculum and the proper attire. Colder weather and a rugged terrain mean warm coats, layers of clothes that can be peeled off should ecstatic splashing in the natural spring on the property occur (and it does, believe me!), and sturdy boots, for the kiddos and the adults.
Each session begins with a collaboratively assembled and prepared pot of soup placed over an outdoor fire. Then the Starseeds, their parents, and the teacher, Ms. Tiffany, head out into the forest to explore and learn. Later, everyone returns to eat soup, and then hear a story and perhaps do a craft.
Yesterday, the group also participated in planting a patch of goldenseal on the property, to be enjoyed in upcoming years by the residents. I love the idea of these young minds, digging, planting, and growing, right there along with the whole wide (and wild!) world. I admit, it was really hard letting him go, being out there in the woods. Of course, his Papa is there along with him, but, other moms, you know what I’m talking about. But letting go, more and more everyday, is really what parenting teaches us, isn’t it? Give them what they need, and they’ll get the confidence to go out into the world and flourish.
The change in weather has brought a sudden need for new footwear for our little guy. Those feet of his just keep growing, and his garden clogs aren’t offering quite as much warming protection as the shift in temperature dictates.
Thredup proved the solution, as they have been recently for all of Huxley’s clothing needs. Love those guys. I’ve found their offerings of gently used (and even new) items to be stylish, well-made, and incredibly reasonably priced. Even better, if you share your love for them and folks sign up as a result, you get buying credits. Last time I got on the horn, my waxing rhapsodic about the online consignment store garnered me $25 in credit, which I’ve since used to buy two him hoodies and some winter slippers.
I don’t know if I love the snow boots or the desert boots more. Huxley loves them both, although he does ask me to put his ” ‘no boots” on him considerably more often.
Come cold weather, my tiny Englishman’s feet will be ready. Bring it, autumn leaf piles and winter snow. I’ve got you in my crosshairs and I’m ready for action.