“Mummy, I know why you didn’t ride a horse on the weekend,” Miss6 suddenly came out with tonight at dinner.
“Do you?” said Tracey, assuming we were about to enter another discussion about her bags and health in general.
This week is a bit of a milestone for this family. For the four months since Tracey has been home with us we’ve effectively been treading water, putting our lives on hold until Tracey’s had the energy and stamina to do more. She’s doing extremely well, and has been since that horrible night when it looked like it was all over, but October took a toll on her.
So all we’ve really been doing is sitting at home. We had a four day holiday on the Gold Coast, but even that only had short bursts of adventure so as not to drain our girl too much.
But recently Tracey decided it was time. Time to get moving again and take the kids out into the world as a family for a bit of fun and adventure. Especially as in a few months she’ll be having more operations and we don’t know how long those will take to recover from.
Just how accustomed they’d become to their new sheltered existence because deafeningly obvious when I drove them down to a spot by Mary River to look at the water. It’s a great little find next to a bridge half of Gympie uses on a daily basis and I daresay like most people I’ve driven past and noticed the entrance many times and wondered what lay at the other end, but haven’t taken the time to find out. That’s 20 years of not finding out.
“Where are we going?” Master11 kept demanding every thirty seconds. I could sense he was annoyed we were taking him away from his iPad. “How long are we going to be?”
When I turned off the main road onto dirt and started to descend, his tone changed from annoyed to anxious.
“What are you doing? Stop the car!”
They’re such an adventurous bunch, my lot, and at this point his siblings joined in. The descent to the river went something like this:
“STOP! TURN AROUND! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? AAAAAHHHH! STOP THE CAR! STOP! THE! CAR! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! DAD! DAD! DAD! WE’RE GOING TO DIE! PULL OVER! DAD, STOP! DAD, STOP! AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! WE’RE GOING TO DIE! WHY ARE YOU KILLING US? DADDY? WE’LL DROWN! STOP THE CAAAAAHHHHHH!”
Step aside Bindi & Robert.
When I pulled into a well used spot amongst the trees, still a fair way up and away from the river, I was surprised to find Miss9 and Miss4 had even swept up their goggles, which they’d obviously left on the floor of the car after Friday’s swimming lesson, and put them on.
“Well, that proves it,” Tracey said to me as we got out. “We’ve kept them locked up for way too long.”
A statement she repeated several minutes later when we’d all shuffled our way down the embankment to the weir.
“Don’t touch the water or you’ll drown,” advised Miss9.
After having a look about and frolicking near the water, we took them to a nice tea house in Amamoor, where they screamed at a friendly dog and a spider up in a tree, and then Tracey ducked in to Dagun Markets with Miss9 and Miss4 – with attitudes more suited to a wildlife safari park, the others refused to leave the safety of our vehicle.
Feeling rather pleased with herself, Tracey and the two girls arrived back at the car after several minutes with a plastic push bike.
“The guy said it was free,” she said excitedly.
“Are you sure he meant free to take and not free for the kids to ride around on while they’re at the markets?” I asked her.
On reflection of the conversation she decided she wasn’t, so she ducked back to confirm we were right to take it home. I was a little disappointed to learn we were because it would have made a great blog post. *sigh
But the big wow factor was Sunday after our Mothers Day brunch with family: we took them out to a wonderful property so they could learn to ride a horse.
Miss4 was immediately smitten with the animals, although somewhat confused about what they were.
“Unicorns!” she exclaimed when she saw them. And then kept asking the owners if they could put one in the car for her – surely the four year old equivalent of ‘take my money!’
It was simply the best three hours our kids have had in months.
Borne out, I think, by the fact they’re still thinking and talking about it and saying, like in the case of Miss6, things like they know why Mummy couldn’t join them for a ride around the paddock.
“It’s because you’re too big,” said Miss6. And just in case you’re thinking she meant tall, she wasn’t done. Continuing her very matter-of-fact tone, she added, “You’re too heavy for a horse.”
“I don’t th-” Tracey started.
“You’re so heavy,” went on Miss6, nodding sagely now, “if you tried to ride one it would fall down.”
And then she got up from her chair and showed us all what she meant by fall down. It wasn’t a simple bend at the knees. She threw herself onto the floor.
“The horsie,” she continued in a strained voice, “would be on the ground saying, ‘get off me or I can’t breathe’ and probably its back would break.”
So, for my part, these excursions look like being incredible fun.
I just better make sure I’m the one driving us about, or Tracey might decide to drive them down to that spot by the river again, just to make sure they’ve fitted their goggles on properly.
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Raising a family on little more than laughs.