Yesterday morning, I was jockeying for position between Elijah and Luca on the couch while they fiercely argued about what to watch in their second straight hour of TV. Power Rangers. My Little Pony. Power Rangers. My Little Pony. POWER RANGERS! MY LITTLE PONY!
I sprang up from the couch and declared, “Get your clothes on. We’re going outside.”
“I don’t know. The zoo. The nature center. Just get your clothes on. We’ll find something to do.”
After threatening Elijah that I would personally move his cousins to Utah at great expense if he didn’t get his shoes on, we piled into the car. I turned the car west with the vague idea of visiting the nature museum in Northbrook. Where they have the one eyed owl and that sad fox in the cage.
Eventually, I realized we missed the turn to the one eyed owl’s habitat and we were just passing Dunkin Donuts after Dunkin Donuts.
Suddenly, we passed a red sign that read, “Blah Blah Blah Forest Preserve.” A-Ha! A forest! I swung the car into the parking lot and we climbed out.
The forest preserve’s main purpose was a bike path. A paved, two lane path carved into fairly picturesque timberland. We watched peloton after peloton whiz by on their carbon fiber investments. I thought, “This will not end well.”
But out of the corner of my eye I spotted a little footpath. I waited for a break in the action and we ran for it.
The path was gorgeous. Quiet. Cool. With dollops of sunlight above and, oddly, giant piles of horse manure below. Elijah took great pains to leap over them. Luca, on the other hand, tromped right through. Thank goodness for his red fireman boots.
After a hundred yards of me shouting, “Isn’t this beautiful?” We came across a little footbridge over a creek. We scrambled down to the water’s edge and I gave a clinic in stone skipping.
Elijah, for three glorious minutes, completely forgot about My Little Pony and began to understand the joy of standing in stinking mud while urinating into creek water.
Luca was soon covered in mud and, presumably, horse manure. He threw stick after stick into the water like a little beaver.
The spell was broken soon enough when both boys realized I had not brought along water bottles. Suddenly, they both became desperate for hydration and we walked back to the car. Where they fought over Eli’s handheld video game.