I used to blame it on the baby. Without fail, our family would be frolicking about some delightful landscape—say, a pebbly ocean shore or an old-growth forest—and I would be the one to lag behind, tending to the smallest child. The wee pixie with aching legs and whining throat would fall to the back, and I would naturally fall back as well. Cheered by a drink of water and gooey handful of trail mix, the little one would gain renewed vigor and dart away to the front of the pack, chubby legs accelerating at an astounding rate. This erratic zest invariably left mother in the dust.
I say I used to blame it on the baby. The reality is becoming more clear as my children age. (Our “baby” is now 12, so the dawdling, chubby-leg phase is well behind us.) Or perhaps I just grew so accustomed to my scenic rear view over the years that I now rather prefer it. Either way, as my family bounds ahead, I often remain in linger mode. This was decidedly evident on our family’s recent trip to Whidbey Island. Our temporary home was nestled cozily along a vast shoreline, and one of the first orders of business according to the Lawson Family Code was: explore it.
It was in this exploration that our family personalities were thrown into relief.