"Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you. Then, it will be a really good day." Louie Schwartzberg
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Seizing the Day and Climbing Weathertop

posted by Susan Dominikovich on , ,

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It was another seize the day moment.  Carpe diem.  I'm getting quite good at it.  Which says a lot for a control-freak, planner-extraordinaire personality type like mine.  Don't even think about surprising me with a party.  Things need to planned and my psyche needs to prepared.  Well prepared.  Months in advance.

After an extremely lazy Saturday morning (the sleeping in followed by brunch of bacon and eggs and coffee with nowhere to go sort of lazy), I actually showered and got dressed. Around mid-day I even attempted some slap-dash make-up.  By 1:00 pm I was thinking the children probably needed some lunch but there was no bread in the house.  My Madeline was up for an outing so we put a cot mattress in the van to be delivered to a friend and headed off.  Cot mattress dropped off, we hit the local grocery store for some bread and sundry necessities.  My Madeline was a super-hero carrying the basket and I piled it full of goodies ("Mum!  Wine is like clothes...you do not need it!").  Bread, check.  Pasta, check.  Fruit, check.  I actually wanted to see how much she could carry so put in a few extras.  That's the only reason, honest.

As we were leaving the store, my super-hero carrying two bags of groceries while I carried one,  Madeline blurted out, "Mum, you know that farest nextheschool?"   Pardon me?  The farthest school?  "The farest nextheschool...(I still looked blank) you know, the FOREST NEXT TO THE SCHOOL?!?  One day, I hope my class gets to go there like Sam did."  Ah ha, says I, THAT forest.  Okay, so the forest that is like, a block away from our house.  And my daughter was hoping that one day she would have a school trip to visit it because obviously, it was beyond the realm of possibility that we would venture on such an outing as a family.  Inconceivable, clearly.

Righteo.  Madeline?  When we get home, we are in conquer mode:  make a few sandwiches, eat them quickly and tell everyone we are going on an adventure.  Shoes and socks necessary.  Cardigans optional (especially for the boys, both of whom have never worn a cardigan in their lives.)

Thankfully, the rest of the family caught on quite quickly to the idea of an adventure and it didn't take much persuasing to get them into conquer mode.  Although, our Sam, who is much like me when it comes to surprises was not happy with the idea that we were taking him somewhere but not letting him in on the details.  Just go with it Sam, trust me (secretly wanting to tell him exactly the who, the what, the where and wherefore).

Our first stop, was our driveway.  The scene of six jubilant adventurers, with and without cardigans, including the dog (and one slightly reluctant but willing) walking down our tree-lined drive just screamed photo opportunity.  The first of many.

Our Adventurers, Madeline, Violet, Abby and Sam

As we walked down one of our local streets and crossed the main road, our Sam finally relaxed.  "Ah ha!  I know where we're going."  Phew, I thought.  That means we can all relax.  Until we got to the train tracks and Paul insisted on taking a photo.  "It's a great shot" he said.  But clearly, AGAINST THE RULES.  Sam and Madeline were not happy because it is a truth universally acknowledged, you do not stop on the train tracks, FOR ANY REASON, not even if acting out a great scene from Stand By Me.  Ach, seize the day my children.  But I am mixing my movie metaphors.

And then we crossed some farmland while dodging sheep droppings and found a rickety little bridge with a gate.  Up we climbed after that...up to the top of Weathertop.  That's what we told the kiddios, but they weren't fooled.  "Mum, there are too many trees and not enough rocks for this to be Weathertop."  Okay, sure.  But we're still not lighting any fires up there in case the Nazgul find us.

We did eventually find the top of Weathertop.  The view was hidden by more trees (and no rocks) but it was still a magic place.  The chidren explored and we all told stories and played hide and seek while poor Buster panicked and whined every time someone was out of his eyesight.  We sat on tree stumps and pretended to drink cups of tea together.  We hid behind logs when we heard the wolves howling.  We laughed and played and created and imagined.  We danced and ran and hid.  We crunched leaves beneath our feet, spotted magpies and jumped at wood pigeons.  We seized the day.  It was fantastic.

We even heard the call of the wild and laughed ourselves silly.  Poor Buster Boy.


We finally came down from Weathertop, but the adventure wasn't over.  We went on to find a playground where we scaled a rock-face and tarzaned across monkey bars.  Still not wanting the adventure to end, we continued on to another piece of bush and then found ourselves stumbling across the Inglewood Cemetary.

I love cemetaries, but in all my 15 years of living in Inglewood, I have never explored our local one.  I guess I had never seized the day.  Today the sun was at that late afternoon angle which made the trees longer and the shadows deeper.  The cemetary was beautiful.  Paul explained to the chidren that loved ones were buried here and we should show the utmost of respect.  They all went off up a hill together while I was drawn towards a little far-off neglected corner in the trees.  Sure enough, there at the very edge was a gravestone that tugged at my heartstrings, a little girl named Joan who had died in 1916 at the age of 5 years, 9 months.  There's a story there.  But all that remains of that story is a forlorn looking grave in a forgotten corner of the cemetary.

I finally dragged myself away from the unknown story that needed telling and found the rest of the family.  We had assumed on entering the cemetary that we would not find anyone we knew.  But there they all were kneeling together at a gravestone and I could see that Paul was telling them the who and the what.  

When I joined them and saw the name on the gravestone, I instantly held my husband closer and instinctively needed to touch my babies.  A tear crept out.  Because there before us was a story we did know.  A story of grief and pain and shadows and longing and guilt and suffering.  A story which made me thankful for every day I've had with my children and even more thankful that today, I chose to seize the day.  The walk home was a little more sombre but just as delightful.  Because we were together.  And we had seized the day.

Carpe Diem.  Our children are our treasures.  Lets make life a treasure with them.

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