Morning Walks

I got to experience my walk through the eyes of a very curious toddler.

abstract watercolor illustration of a sidewalk covered in fall leaves
Image created via Midjourney

I am on a ten-day streak of meeting my goal of walking 10,000 steps per day. Over the past month, I have met my goal more days than not.

What began as a way to quell anxiety has now turned into a necessary part of my daily routine. I take two or three walks per day, the first being early in the morning.

Yesterday I was putting on my walking shoes when Autumn spotted me. "I want to go for a walk!" she shrieked. She grabbed her green rubber dinosaur boots, ready to go.

I really didn't want her to accompany me. Having her on my walk meant that our pace would be far slower. Fewer steps for me in the morning meant that I would need to catch up in the afternoon. However, there was no deterring her and I found myself slowly walking along the sidewalk, occasionally carrying her water bottle when she got tired of holding it herself.

Yet my frustration with having a walking companion quickly subsided. Autumn talked the entire time. More than talked — she had questions.

When we saw an angry boxer barking through a neighbor's window, she asked, "Is that a grandpa dog?"

When we saw a house with a bunch of toys lined up in the side of the yard, she asked, "Is that a playground?"

When we saw a knot in a large tree, she asked, "Where is the owl?"

When we saw a discarded mask by the side of the road, she asked, "Why is the mask there?"

When we saw a sprinkler poking out of the grass in someone's yard, she asked, "What's this for?"

When we saw a window screen with a rip she asked, "What is that broken?"

When we saw a runner across the street, she asked, "Where is his house?"

When we saw a homemade wooden swing hanging from a front yard tree, she asked, "Can I ride the swing?"

When we saw a car parked on the street, she asked, "Whose car is that?"

Then she complained that her toe hurt and we stopped so she could take off her boot and shake out a rock. After standing back up, she was insistent that we turn around and go home.

Except that we were following a road that looped behind our house and "turning around" meant taking a much longer route to get home. I tried to convince her that we were almost home and that if we got to the corner with the stop sign, we would be able to see our house.

Her bottom lip went out and her eyes filled with tears. "I want to go home to see Theo and Quentin" (her brothers). I had to use my very best pleading voice to assure her that the fastest way to see Theo and Quentin was to keep going forward. Finally, she relented... good thing because dragging a sobbing toddler home would have ruined the enjoyment of the morning.

Yet as we turned the corner I realized that the angle of our house and some trees meant that she couldn't quite see the house. However, she recognized the street by that point and said, "Look it's the blue house!" She always refers to our home as "the blue house."

So I got fewer steps in that morning. I made up for it later in the day. And I got to experience my walk through the eyes of a very curious toddler. Totally worth it.

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