I am on a semi-blogging-sabbatical while I finish my second book (prayers please!!) While I am away some very generous friends have offered to step in and keep this place running. Sometimes it takes a village to run a blog! Today I am happy to share this post from my dear friend Alison. Alison and her family have been living in Scotland for the past few years, while her husband finishes his doctorate. Alison’s stories of her families adventures in the cold and wet world of Scotland, reminds me so much of my years growing up in the wet and cold world of Southeast Alaska. Like Alison, my mother too learned that sometimes you just have to get everyone outside – even if just for a moment.
“Turn around and walk backwards into the wind!”
I called to my squealing children.
The wind was blowing so hard that the sand off the beach felt like tiny pinpricks on the parts of our faces that weren’t covered by hoods and hats.
We climbed over the sand dunes to get to the beach.
We were out hoping to see the seals that live on this part of the Northeast Coast of Scotland.
“There they are!”
For a moment, everyone forgot the wind to watch the pile of seals across the channel. Like giant rocks piled on the opposite side of the river, we watched them come to life one by one. Sliding in and out of the freezing cold North Sea.
But soon the excitement of seeing the seals was forgotten by the bits of sand flying into eyes.
We wrestled my flannel blanket to the ground a little out-of-the-way of the most fierce gusts of wind.
One of my kids said,
“Whose GREAT idea was it to come have a beach picnic in February?!”
My friend, who had met me and my kids with her four children on this cold school holiday, laughed, “Don’t you find that after living in Scotland for a while that you find you just have to get on with it?” She has also been transplanted to this Northern land from a slightly warmer climate. “You don’t think anything of loading up in jackets and wellies to go to the park because you know that even a short trip outside will make all the difference in your day!”
Yes, I nod. She’s speaking my language. You just have to get kids outside by whatever means you can. And in all kinds of weather.
Otherwise, you go crazy.
“There’s sand in my lunch!!” The youngest member of our party was spitting out her ham and cheese because it was gritty with bits of the beach from which it was impossible to shield our carefully prepared picnic.
We two moms had gotten up early, lovingly chopping up carrots and apples, assembling sandwiches and filling thermoses of tea and hot cocoa for an outing to the beach with our kids. It was the fifth day of a long holiday weekend and we had put this event on the calendar, knowing we would need the joint motivation of meeting someone else to get our stir crazy children out of the house.
Now our carefully prepared picnic was being blown with sand and everyone was too cold to eat.
“Mummy, my toes are FWOZE!” whined a wee one. Tears were forming on her bundled face. This little darling was expressing what we were all feeling after less than an hour on the beach.
“Should we pack it in?” I asked.
It was time to admit defeat.
I handed my big kids the car keys and they gathered up the younger ones and made their way back over the sand dunes while my friend and I packed up our sandy picnic.
Soon, we would all be back inside warm houses. We would have hot baths and drink tea and huddle underneath blankets with books and movies for the rest of the day. Later when the kids were all tucked up into their beds, they would fall asleep hard.
Though the outing had not quite been the day I had hoped for when I had gotten up early to get ready that morning, I knew I would still fall into my own bed that night and feel grateful that we had gotten outside.
Alison Chino lives in Scotland with her family where it rains over 250 days a year. She believes that the magic happens when we are outdoors and that God speaks to us through His creation, so she tries to drag both herself and her family outside regularly, regardless of the weather. You can read more of about Alison’s international and domestic adventures on her blog: AlisonChino.Com