The last Sunday of the month — Polska msza. Among many other things, it means a lazy morning with perhaps a bit of outside time. During the summer, it was the only Sunday we could do much of anything outside because by the time we normally got back from Mass, it was too hot to do much of anything. There was the pool, that’s true, but even that gets a little routine after a while, I guess.
In the late morning, then, L, E, and I headed to the backyard to do some exploring. Our exploring of late is limited, though, by the fact that we have new neighbors whom we rarely see, and I haven’t yet had a chance to ask if they mind us tromping through their backyard. I’m certain they have nothing at all against it, but I still don’t want to do it until we’ve actually discussed it.
That leaves us limited to our own backyard, which we all know perfectly well — harder to pretend-explore there than it was in our neighbors’ yard. I struck upon the idea of tracing the stream that runs through our backyard. We’d waded up the stream one morning this summer, but we hadn’t gone the opposite direction. The Boy was interested; the Girl headed inside.
We followed where it passes under the road and winds through more backyards, but soon we reached a point where we couldn’t go any further. If we had long pants on, we could have braved the weeds and wild for probably another hundred and fifty feet, but not much more than that. Suddenly, the Boy had a question.
“Daddy, what if we’re lost?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, what if we can’t find our way home?”
I thought of what we’d just done from his forty-some inch perspective and his four-year-old mental development and realized that he might indeed have no idea where we were. I took him back to the road and pointed out the back of our house.
“Oh, neat trick,” he replied.
But could he really not know where we were? I doubt it. He has such an incredible memory for the physical layout of things, where things are located in the house, where things are located in the larger environment.
Once, K told me, they were on their way to Nana’s and Papa’s house in the morning and there was a huge snarl of traffic on the four-lane road we normally take to their place. I’d done some exploring on Google Maps before to map new routes to ride by bike and had discovered a way to cut the corner where the snarl was, and once I’d taken it when I was taking the Boy to Nana’s and Papa’s. E remembered it just as K was contemplating where that road off to the left might go and explained that it was a short cut. Between those two events passed probably several weeks.
So it’s likely that he really wasn’t as lost today as he thought he might have been. It’s possible that he could have figured his way back home. Instead, he just took me by the hand and said, “Daddy, let’s go home.”