Last summer, Zach and I had taken a day-date at Kubota Gardens here in Seattle. With all the flowers bursting into bloom around us here, I thought Spring Break would be the perfect time to take the kids there. It turned out I was right.
Going there on a weekday morning (we got there a little after ten in the morning) we had the whole place to ourselves. The weather was perfect: clear and just slightly cool, warming up enough to take our jackets off about midway through our visit there). Since I had been there before, I had somewhat of an idea of where all the trails lead. That meant I could stick to the wider, stroller-friendly trails with Alden while letting the girls run free and explore.
They had a blast! It was wonderful to see their independence grow as I let them run free. They didn’t have to worry about staying within sight (just within earshot) and were free to luck in, under, around and behind everything they wanted. They could choose to get dirty or not (they opted not) and basically just have all the freedom their little hearts could desire.
At first they stuck relatively close (the result of being told too many times when walking through parking lots or alongside busy streets) but with my encouragement they quickly started to spread their wings and explore further away from me. I spent the majority of my childhood running free and exploring in just such a way, especially when camping with my mom, and I love when I can let my kids do the same. Those opportunities are less frequent, here in a big city, than they were in the county where I grew up.
The girls wanted to know about these little pagoda-like structures, and the offering they found inside. I wasn’t sure what to tell them, being unclear about their name and purpose myself. They eventually came away with the idea that you put “treasure” inside and then make a wish. I figured that was close enough to the truth.
The girls saw lots of flowers, ponds with Koi fish, bridges, hidden gardens and paths, climbed rocks and hills and really enjoyed their morning. For me, though, the best part was seeing their self-confidence bloom as brightly as all the flowers around them.