I feel pangs of guilt.
Am I a terrible Mother and Grandmother?
When our two daughters were very young, Sunday was always Family Day for us. Nowadays, the kids call it Sunday/Fun Day. Same day. New name.
We carved out Sundays as a day we would spend together as a family. We would go swimming, cross-country skiing, or hiking, depending on the season and the weather.
We would often take our girls on long Trail Hikes. Nowadays, we call it Forest Bathing. Same walk. New name.
- We would have fun, relaxed family time.
- They would learn to appreciate nature.
- We would all get some exercise and fresh air.
- The goal was simply to be together.
Hiking With Very Young Children
It all sounds like a great idea.
For the first fifteen minutes.
How do you keep young children walking on a long hike, having fun, with minimal complaining?
My husband and I can only carry a thirty to fifty pound child for a short period of time. We want to tire them out, not tire us out.
One Sunday, a spur of the moment decision resulted in the
Birth Of A New Adventure!
We Will Search For Licorice Trees
Thirty-five years ago I packed some licorice candy strings along with healthy snacks in my knapsack for one of our hikes.
I began to discretely hang licorice strings further ahead on our path. I did have an accomplice to distract the girls and keep an eye on them. My complicit husband.
Finding the licorice trees did energize the girls and now they were running along the path. They would squeal with delight when they found licorice strings hanging on a tree branch.
Long hikes became a lot more fun for the entire family.
Fast Forward Three Decades
My two daughters were recently reminiscing about our Sunday adventures when they were young girls. They began giggling about the licorice trees.
I found out they believed for many years afterwards, licorice strings grew on trees.
A fleeting pang of guilt. Am I a terrible Mother?
Last Sunday, A Funday
My husband and I took our two granddaughters for a hike last Sunday to a pretty area called the Kinsol Trestle.
I told four-year-old, Abby, and six-year-old, Sadie, to keep a lookout for licorice trees and licorice strings.
They both gave me a puzzled, curious look.
Sadie brought up a good point. They had no idea what to look for?
Until they came across rainbow-coloured licorice strings hanging over a tree branch.
The Rest Of The Afternoon
Sadie and Abby searched high and low for this rare treasure growing in the forest. For the rest of the afternoon there was no stopping the two of them.
We finally had to insist we turn around and head back to our vehicle.
Promises were made to return in the Spring to continue looking for this tasty treat.
Our granddaughters did not question the existence of licorice trees. They looked up at me with trusting eyes.
Is this wrong? Have I gone too far?
A fleeting pang of guilt. Am I a terrible Grandmother?
Perpetuating The Myths
Licorice trees belong in the category of the Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Fictitious, imaginary characters and fantasy brought to life by adults.
I do have fleeting pangs of guilt when I bring these stories alive.
I also hear the squeals of laughter as Sadie and Abby run along the trail. I see the joy and delight in their eyes when they find the licorice strings.
My husband and I share a secret, knowing smile. A moment in life where we are in this together.
Sharing memories. Creating memories.
At The End Of The Day
We return Sadie and Abby to their parents late Sunday afternoon.
They were bubbling over with excitement sharing the adventures of their day. They also shared their bag of licorice strings with their Mom and Dad.
As we were leaving, Sadie yells out, “The Best Day Ever!”
If This Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right
Sadie and Abby will eventually find out the truth about the licorice trees. I suspect they will giggle when they reminisce about their Sunday/Funday adventures.
Three decades from now they may take their own children on a forest hike looking for licorice strings. They may want to share the joy and delight of a new adventure.
They may want to spend a fun, relaxed Sunday, simply spending time together.
“The Best Day Ever!”
Have you played games to make long hikes fun for children?
Did you believe in imaginary characters when you were a child?
About the Kinsol Trestle: The Kinsol Trestle is also known as the Koksilah River Trestle. It is one of the highest wooden railway trestles in the world. It provides a spectacular crossing of the Koksilah River. (Weblink)
Your visit: If you come onto The Island Vancouver Island Link and visit the Kinsol Trestle, be on the lookout for licorice trees. Please keep the rainbow-coloured licorice strings our little secret. These trees are very rare and we hope to find some licorice strings in the Spring on our next Trail Hike.
Warning: We make sure the girls do not touch anything or put anything in their mouths they find in the forest unless their parents or grandparents have given their approval. They have received strict warnings in the past to not touch any mushrooms. We do have poisonous mushrooms on The Island.
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