With this week's 4-hour bomb of a snow storm followed by immediately melting, I am convinced we have now seen the end of winter here in Utah (at least in the valleys-you snow lovers can keep on having your fun in the mountains). It's okay with me!
It has been such a blessing to have a warm winter. We haven't had to be bundled up and hurrying to keep from getting frostbite (In Iowa last winter, that was no exaggeration). We've been able to walk everywhere we need to go-the library, the grocery store, the park, our homeschool co-op. Where spring usually means getting back in to the habit of using our legs, this year my kids beg to walk instead of drive when it's time to run the errands. They surprise me and I'm loving it!
Today as B and I walked to his art class, I held his hand and he told me all about the things he's been learning. At almost 8-years-old I know the time is winding down when he'll let me be so close and it overwhelmed me today how much I really love him.
He's a voracious reader and an extremely motivated independent learner. We learned this week about Mt. Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii. He's taken his history books to bed with him every night, and today he was telling me all about how the Romans treated their slaves, how the teachers reprimanded their naughty students, and the kind of pots the people of Pompeii used to grow their plants.
It was while I listened to him share with me so animatedly that I felt a validation and an inspiration that lately I've been missing. You see, I have been to Pompeii. (Truth be told, B has also been to Pompeii, but he was barely 1 and off the hook for not remembering). I've walked through the narrow streets. I've seen the fresco paintings and looked into the bakeries. I've sat in the the amphitheater that B was explaining to me.
All along I've known I wasn't traveling just for me. Wanderlust is not a selfish thing. At the root it's so much bigger than me. Without getting out and seeing, without being around other people in other places and smelling what they smell and hearing what they hear, the world would be as flat and lifeless as a printed map. I've been and I've seen and I've done and I did it so that my kids, and your kids, and you, and I can understand how their space on earth fits in and belongs with every other one.
As we walked, I told B about Pompeii and compared the volcano's distance to the distance of the Wasatch Range from us. I told him about a map-reading little boy we saw there who has never left my memory and who always comes to mind when B himself is walking around a park with his nose squarely planted in a map. And I told him that we would go back there someday so he can add to his mother's memories, bringing all his book learning to life.
I know not everyone has had the opportunity, or the desire, to travel the world and smell stinky things and hear the clatter of busy streets. Can I encourage you to think about the places you have gone, the ones that have touched you deep down inside, and share them with your children. Make them part of who they are, who you can be together? Wandering is powerful. It's meaningful. And it's something everyone of us has to share.