Friday afternoon. The end of the week also usually coincides with the end of Emma’s tether. She is spent after a week of school and a week of full-throttle excitement and competitive chit-chat with equally excited friends.
Friday nights frequently have moments of tears as this tiredness spills into a sort of emotional release accentuated by the diminished energy levels.
Sulkily she sat in the back seat of the car. The weekend really never comes too soon! It was with some trepidation that I whisked her off, straight from the school run, to the woods for a walk.
It was also with some relief that the sun shone and Brampton Wood was a verdant haven of tranquility - not a soul to be seen. Emma embraced it with an unexpected enthusiasm, suddenly perky and eagerly wandering from the straight and narrow. Unusually for her she departed from the trodden path and into the dense wood, stooping joyously under the low spiky hawthorns and giggling at my inability to follow her smaller frame through this thick maze, she even asked me if we could come here to camp.
"Have we got this leaf? Can you pick this leaf, it's too hard for me?" She insisted on leading and ordering her sherpa around.
Our task was to spend half an hour collecting leaves from different trees, identify them at home with the help of Emma’s book, and then she had the freedom to do with them what every five year old sees as the very zenith of existence, namely sticking stuff to paper.
It seems it was the perfect antidote to the noise and competition of the schoolyard. There was no drama this Friday night and our daughter went to bed seemingly calm and happy. We might make Friday afternoon walks a regular occurrence.