How a Hike with My Daughter Taught Me to Appreciate the Little Things…Even Stepping in Dog Poo

My daughter is one of those girls that you swear came sprinting out of the womb headfirst. She’s full of energy, extremely feisty, and if she doesn’t have her daily run outside she turns into the biggest tyrant you have ever met in your entire life…and right when dinner is served. When I say tyrant, I don’t over exaggerate.

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When it comes to staying active with this little lady, I have to get creative because not only is she fast on her feet, in also carrying around a 4 week old baby. So today I decided to take her on her very first hike at one of the local reservations. When we arrived, her eyes were wide and big as saucers as she looked around at all there was to see. The colors of the leaves had already begun to change in only the most beautiful way that they do in New England. As I pulled her out of her car seat, she darted for the nearest hiking path and all I could do was laugh inside as I heard her shout “wow”.

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So I chased after her, as I usually do, just hoping that she wouldn’t fall. Well, her first step into the hike was in a nice pile of dog shit. Oh no. Then she say down, said UH OH! And started trying to clean it off her shoes with her hands. And I didn’t even bring wipes. IIIIICKKKK. So, I did what I had to do. I taught her how to give her hands a dirt bath. What’s a dirt bath? Run your hands back and forth in the dirt until they no longer smell like dog poop and are just plain old filthy. To my surprise, this delighted my daughter. She giggled and squealed with joy and even stopped to do this for fun over the course of our hike.

I was surprised by her spirit of adventure and how she rushed to jump in the mud and play in the dirt. There wasn’t an ounce of fear in her little body. She was like a duck in water. Walking with her, I felt my stomach fill with butterflies as I remembered the many hikes that I took with my father as a toddler. He and I would take road trips out west every summer to go camping and hike. I have very fond memories of bathing in the creek, picking up rocks along the trails, and enjoying the sights and smells of the woods. I was reminded of these times the very moment that I stepped foot onto this trail with my daughter and my newborn son today.

I couldn’t have been more blessed today as I shared a new adventure with my daughter. She reminded me to take a minute to stop and appreciate the quiet of a nice hike away from the city. She reminded me of how new the world is to her and how I can get lost in that world with her if I take a moment to step back and watch her. I can’t wait for the next time that we go hiking together. The first of many to come I’m sure.

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