Be Free

Monday, March 19, 2018

On this rainy Monday morning, we are getting back in the swing of things after being on Spring Break last week ! I love having the time off from the daily grind, but it's so hard to get back in the groove. Thank goodness for coffee and a full DVR! However, I may not get anything truly done.

We spent last week doing all the things we could possibly do in a week! We kicked off the break with heading to Union Station, McKinley's favorite place on earth, taking advantage of all of the fun things to do. And it was all about trains! We started with the train tour at Science City where McKinley wanted to show me the train museum he finally discovered. He is able to play on a BNSF locomotive and use the controls inside the engine. Heaven for him! There are other fun train cars to explore and we did just that. We then headed to the beloved model train exhibit, a fun activity that doesn't cost you a thing! A free to the public exhibit that allows you to explore towns of the past while watching train after train ride the rails! 

We spent some time in Crown Center as well. McKinley had a blast in Funville, a free to the public exhibit that allows kids to explore the world of different occupations. So much to do, see, and play with inside this room of wonder. He loved it so much we went twice! Speaking of free, we also headed over to Kaleidoscope where McKinley was the most creative he's ever been during a visit. Kaleidoscope is provided by Hallmark and it allows children to be creative and use their imagination when constructing things out of scraps of paper, tape, markers, stickers, and more. McKinley made a kite out of tissue paper, curling ribbon, tape, and St. Patrick's Day stickers. He also made a truck out of card stock circles and scrapes of green paper. It was so much fun to watch him create! 

While we were out and about, taking advantage of the free things the city offers, I was constantly on guard. You know, holding McKinley's hand 90% of the time. Telling him not to run ahead too far. Asking him to stay within ear shot when we're using the restroom that's not a family one. Telling him to look both ways when crossing the street. Stay where he is when we're in a parking lot until I can get all my stuff out of the car. There is never a moment for him to just be free! With tons of people all around, I'm not about to let him out of sight or out of my reach. The unfortunate truth is that society has caused me to be a little more on edge, a little less carefree, and a lot more protective. Some might call it overprotective or being a "helicopter mom". I just called it being a mom. 

When we headed to the river that past week, free takes on a whole different meaning. As my dad mentioned, McKinley is free to do whatever he wants. He doesn't have to hold anyone's hand, unless he simply wants to. He doesn't have to ask if he can run ahead and be out of reach. He can come and go out the back door as often as he wants, shutting it with a bang behind him. He can roam the backyard, play in the truck bed, dig for whatever he can find, run up and down the river bank, however I will shout "don't get too close to the water's edge" from time to time. I don't want him falling in fully clothed in March. Summer will be a different story. 

I would love to allow him more space to be free. I told my mom this weekend that I wish we had a little more land to allow for badminton games, batting practice, Frisbee throwing, and exploring. Instead, we have enough yard for gardening where he can dig in the dirt and search for worms and other insects. A spot for his sandbox where he creates amazing construction sites and Monster Jam arenas. He has a swing set that serves as a fort, drive-thru restaurant, and picnic area. He can mow the lawn, drive his tractor, play with bubbles, have a picnic, jump in his bouncy house and swim in his bouncy swimming house. So he has free rein of the backyard, it's just not as vast as the one the river house provides. 

For now, at almost age seven, McKinley's free to play whatever comes to his creative mind. Whether it's a Matchbox cars junk yard, being the "cooking guy" in his kitchen and serving up some of the best wooden food around, playing trains, using sidewalk chalk in the driveway to make elaborate cities or solar systems, or just sit with a pad of blank paper and draw until his hearts content. That's the thing about being free. You're are free to be whatever you want to be or do whatever you want to do. Just be free!


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