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I No Go Home

Caroline loves to be outside. She particularly likes to leave our house and venture into town and the surrounding area. Whether it be the "fishie's swimming pool"/lake, the local playground Kid City or to Carl the neighbor's for a visit with the "kitchens" aka chickens, Caroline is in her element in the great outdoors. We can travel five hours by plane or car to an interesting or exotic locale where, if she has something to push, Caroline pays no attention to the surroundings touted by the Chamber of Commerce.

She'll ram into walls, corners and people's heels as she steers her stroller, shopping cart or bike. She can do this for hours. She can also slide, swing, throw rocks or dirt for extremely lengthy amounts of time. Occasionally she pauses to notice the wind by noting, "It's cold.It's winding," Or to ask me while pointing up, "I go high? I go to the sky?"

I've learned to live on Caroline-time and while at first this was very hard for me, I now revel in the opportunity to slow down and enjoy each moment. No, I can not do the laundry or check email, watch TV or clean when we are on one of our walks, but I can clear my mind and have a simple conversation free of stress and expectations. We talk about the weather. We talk about colors and direction (up, down, up, down). We talk about animals and count to ten. Sometimes we do not talk at all and we just enjoy the feeling of the sun on our cheeks, the wind caressing our skin. It's so simple, easy and carefree.

That's why it concerns me that no matter where we go or where we are, Caroline stops mid-play to announce, "I no go home." She is only 2 1/2 (as she now tells us) but she has astutely concluded that all things fun come to an end. While she has taught me to focus on each minute, in her mind, Caroline is worried about the future. Children learn by repetition and my daughter knows that we go out, we play and in the end, we come home. We stop playing and we do all the things that are not so fun like take a bath, comb our hair and eventually go to sleep. She knows already that good things seem to last every so briefly and the rest of life is filled up with all the stuff that just isn't fun at all.

I can't control time or hide from her the fact that time flies when you're having fun. I do hope I am able to teach her to have fun or at least be carefree and at ease when all the other stuff in life gets in the way. I, too, hope some day she'll look forward to coming home, whether it's from a great day at school when she tells me all about an accomplishment or a not-so-good day when she finds comfort in telling me all about it while I cook dinner. I hope she visits places around the world yet knows that the she can always find respite where she grew up, with people who know her well and love her so much.

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