Not only are moms around the country lobbying legislators today for clean air as part of the Moms Clean Air Force Mama Summit, but thousands of children are out in that air today riding their bikes or walking to school as part of Bike to School Day. Talk about walking the walk!
It was a beautiful morning for DC-area families to participate today. Ironically, we could walk to school every day if we’d decided to attend the language immersion magnet school located in my neighborhood instead of the hands-on Expeditionary Learning school two miles’ drive away.
Both schools are great, but we love our EL community and have stayed their, driving the kids in the morning and letting them ride the bus in the afternoon. My son finally learned to ride a bike at the end of last summer. He was excited for October’s Walk to School Day when my husband pulled my daughter in a trailer along the longer. Our school is only two miles away, but it’s a hilly ride through traffic and a much nicer but longer ride along the bike trail, so it takes a good 30 minutes or more, even for my in-shape husband.
He had to be out of town today, and I’m not well enough right now to bike my preschooler daughter with the trailer weight. I didn’t anticipate being able to get the kids out of the house in time to walk two miles by 8 a.m., and since my son is congested from seasonal allergies to boot, we just parked a few blocks from the school and walked the rest, per the assistant principal’s recommendation.
It’s amazing how even that small amount of connecting to your community and moving your legs can change your perspective. We got a chance to feel a part of the neighborhood and to enjoy the lovely Wetlands Learning Lab our school built in 2012, now grown in and lush. There we were greeted by the principal and assistant principal who gave the children school-imprinted water bottles and reflective stickers for their wheels along with stickers to wear during the day. They were so excited!
Last year at this time, my daughter and I were doing an outdoor parent/child class through Washington Waldorf School. We hadn’t been hiking much as a family at that point. The first week of the class, shortly into our hike she asked, “Where are we going?” It seemed to her like there must be some kind of destination; the idea of enjoying the journey for its own sake was new to her. She asked the same question the following week, but by the end of the class, you could see how comfortable she had become with the trek and how excited she was about all the things we might see and hear along the way.
Between health issues and the snowy winter, we’ve lost our way, so to speak, and haven’t done much hiking since New Year’s Day. Today’s short walk to school helped me remember what even small steps can do to shift what you think of as “normal.” I hope we can get our feet moving more as soon as the pollen counts are down.
Now that my daughter is almost four and I’m hoping to get stronger, I’d like to look into a Wee Ride Co-Pilot or a Trail-A-Bike that she could pedal so that by October 8, 2014, the next Walk to School Day, we might be able to go as a family, even if I am solo parenting that day.
For more information on Walk and Bike To School Day, visit http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/