On arrival at the school yard this morning, I was greeted with a very pleasant surprise.
Throughout the whole year people can often hear me say 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing', or 'we live in Northern Ireland, if we wait for warm weather we'll never do anything, so let's just get on with it!' Granted, not particularly very catching mottos, but good mottos none-the-less.
Although I am passionate about being outdoors in all weather, and encourage my child to do the same, I do however understand why some others are not so keen. It can be hard work to keep your motivation up while juggling a cold child, dragging wet belongings around, trying to shout out safety instructions in the face of strong winds while your child face plants in to yet another puddle of mud and wet leaves, and not to mention that heart sinking feeling when you realise you've forgotten to pack a spare change of clothes. So it's somewhat understandable in this day and age, when so many of us are pushed for time with generally high levels of stress and impatience, why many parents choose to remain indoors in the safety of a dry, calm, controllable and all round easier environment.
However, I am the first to admit that when we are blessed with a rare sunny day here, I am giddy with excitement when I see the inevitable surge in outdoor activities. Children are allowed more freedom to explore in the parks, to play in the leaves, to dig up worms, to go splashing in water, to tear themselves away from technology, and generally 'break free'.
Seeing the pure delight on children's faces, witnessing their endless energy, seeing them interact with peers, and hearing their shrieks of laughter and innocent excitement, simply fills me with comfort and appreciation. I believe this is a real blessing that too often goes missed, and I urge you to stop for just one minute and recognise the 'life' that oozes out of children when they are engaging in the great outdoors.
This morning was one of those days. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and children flocked through the school gates with jolly excitement as they laughed with friends and played games, while avoiding many near misses due to over excited manoeuvres on scooters and bikes!
Generally there is a group of children who would regularly walk to school every morning, with a handful riding a scooter or bike to school on most days, and I applaud these hardy few, however today's Bike Park was a beautiful sight. Full to the brim! A range of sizes, colours, old and new, all with an owner who had a great start to the day with not only being happy on the school run but had also clocked up some much needed active time; and we all know how vitally important it is that our children get lots of exercise! It would be amazing if the bike area was jam packed every morning, but no doubt the rain and wind will return tomorrow and we'll scuttle back in to our modern cars. But I felt thoroughly uplifted seeing all those little wheels this morning, and even if it was only for one day, it should still be cherished.
And it is exactly for this reason, why it saddens me that this scenario often only happens when that large round yellow object appears in the sky - which we all know is a rare occurrence! Imagine the endless amount of fun and learning children can encounter even when the sun doesn't come out! Jumping in puddles, learning about insects, making mud pies, learning about the seasons, sliding down grassy hills, and even building sandcastles! We do not melt in the rain. And I find myself therefore revisiting my usual motto... 'There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing', so grab a hat, pair of gloves, a good coat and some waterproof bottoms and get outside to explore!
Perhaps it's time we should recognise that time stands still for nobody, and although we may choose to wait for warm and sunny weather before we get outdoors and start 'living', it's worth remembering that in the meantime, time is passing by very quickly... taking with it a large amount of missed opportunities.
So perhaps I should simply adopt two long-established and well known mottos instead.
Tempus fugit, so carpe diem.