Turning it Off and On Again

It has become a kind of ritual, a sanity rescuer, a last ditch attempt at restoring equilibrium to the family. We go to the park.

It doesn’t seem to matter if there is play equipment or not – often stumps jutting out of the ground provide a rich backdrop to the ninja-style imaginary games of the boys. They go adventuring, discovering new species, bending down to notice bugs and butterflies, wrestling and tumbling in the grass until they itch all over.

Stepping outside our walls provides an instant perspective change. There is a world out here that won’t collapse if I don’t do everything on my ‘to-do list’ today. The fresh air shocks sense into me and enlivens relationships that were bordering on civil war.

Ice-cream cones in hand, we tumbled out of the house after dinner one night – taking little steps down the street to discover adventure. What usually becomes ‘crazy hour’ in our own zone suddenly shifts to become a dimension of playfulness – of being present in our own bodies again. We choose to reboot.

This post is part of both #Write31Days and the Five Minute Friday challenge that I’m participating in along with a talented community of other writers. We free write for five minutes (or more) guided by a prompt. Today’s prompt is ‘park’. 


For more information on 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes, check out Christina Hubbard’s site!


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  1. Amber, such a beautiful post! The park was my saving grace when my guys were little. They still enjoy going to the one near our house (by themselves, even!). That time away from the house seems to restore a lot of off-kilter relationship-stuff.

    Thanks for the lovely visual and good reminder to spend time together daily. 🙂

    1. I don’t think I ever realised pre-kids how important the park would become… we are so lucky to live within five minutes drive of at least 10 different parks! So fascinating to hear that the park still holds excitement even in later kid years – I’ll look forward to that 🙂

    1. Haha no worries! I’m actually surprised I haven’t done that yet to anyone else! And hey – being called Amber is kind of a privilege 😉

  2. I relate to all of this 🙂 i enjoy your description of an ensuing civil war if park time doesn’t happen. It is a perspective change for everyone 🙂

    1. I can’t even imagine not having a park to escape to 🙁 Definitely make the most of it while you are in America 🙂 Sorry to hear about you being ‘parked’ in at the moment – that is really difficult!

  3. ❤️This: “The fresh air shocks sense into me and enlivens relationships that were bordering on civil war.” So true! I can so see this exchange happening. They will recall these memories forever. Well done!

    1. That is a good point – the longevity of the gift of perspective as well as the in the moment pay off – I like that 🙂

    1. Mmm bugs :p I love that distinction about being part of the world – it feels so much more right when that shift takes place…

  4. Love this! With two ids under 3 I completely connect with this scenario. We live in London an the park is absolutely our go to for everything – rest, escape, adventure, exploration and yes, sanity too!
    This line in particular, is so beautiful “The fresh air shocks sense into me and enlivens relationships that were bordering on civil war.” Well done Mama, what a beautiful set of words and a fantastic fresh perspective. Thank you xx
    Sending love from London, Kara (FMFW #79) xx

    1. Wow so great to connect with you Kara! Sounds like we have a lot in common in life stage and sanity savers 🙂 Looking forward to reading your piece 😀

  5. I missed this last week, and I’m glad I caught up with it now. Kara, above, took the words right out of my comment space before I got a chance to write them! Ditto all she said in her second paragraph. Loved that quote especially.

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