It was a good weekend at the cabin and I'm still recovering.
The kids slept well. They behaved fairly well. And we spent every waking moment outside. While Todd and I were busy taking the boat and the pier out of the water the kiddos played and played and played.
The minute we let them outside on Saturday morning (at around 8 a.m.) the kids immediately walked over to the woodsy area next to the cabin and settled in.
Grace found a leaf pile and decided that is where she wanted to spend most of her time.
The boys began making a fort.
And Grace continued to play in the leaves.
And play in the leaves some more.
Joey hiked around the woods.
Tommy chopped wood. Kind of.
Ben found the four wheeler and was happy that his brothers didn't spot it first.
Grace wandered down to the lake asking to go swimming over and over again.
That girl loves the water even when it is only 55 degrees out.
She was not happy when mommy kept scolding her away from the water.
Until she saw her brothers having fun on the four wheeler (much to Ben's dismay).
I think we're gonna need a bigger four wheeler.
After lunch we all took a hike through the woods across the road. The smell and sound of the leaves yanked me back to my own childhood when my parents and I would hike through the woods. Now here I was walking with my husband and our four children, pointing out the different trees and plants, talking about all the animals that lived in the woods, just as my folks had done.
It was fitting that Todd had brought my father's shotgun on the walk with us. The shotgun that was my dad's pride and joy. The shotgun that he was so proud to show to Todd the first time (and many times thereafter) he came to my parents' house. That gun had taken quite a beating in the last few years of my father's life as he had forgotten how to load it and properly clean it and quite often would get things stuck inside of it. Before dad's Alzheimer's became too severe Todd had spent a pretty penny to get the gun cleaned up for my dad so that he could see it in it's former glory again. When dad passed away my mom thought it was only right to pass that gun on to Todd.
As we were walking the boys asked Todd to shoot grandpa's gun and the kids would all huddle by me, plugging their ears, as Todd walked further into the woods to shoot the gun at a safe distance.
The gun would smash through the crisp air and the boys laughed and cheered. Even Grace had a big smile on her face. I'm sure my dad was smiling too.
At the end of our walk Todd declared it was my turn to shoot dad's gun. I braced it against my shoulder, aimed the gun, took the safety off, and fired it into the woods. It is a strange thing, but I can't tell you how happy it made me. I bent over, picked up the shotgun shell, and took a deep breath. It smelled like my father and reminded me of the times I would watch my dad packing up for a hunting trip.
It was an emotional walk as both Todd and I recalled memories of our fathers that the smell of the woods conjured up. I was missing my dad. And Todd could relate. Just this week he had to tell his father that he couldn't hunt anymore. With the progression of his Alzheimer's it was just too dangerous. After almost thirty years of hunting together this would be Todd's first time hunting without his dad this November.
Still, it was a good walk. Melancholy, but good. We were happy. And we were blessed.
And as we left the woods Todd turned to the boys and said, "Take a deep breath boys. Do you smell that? The musty leaves? The smell of fall? Someday that smell is gonna remind you of your daddy."
Be grateful for each new day. A new day that you have never lived before. Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably. We can squander, neglect, or use them. Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.