How to Watch a Sunset {With Your Kids}

How to Watch a Sunset With Your Kids:  7 Step-by-Step Instructions

I originally wrote this essay a few years ago and never published it.  At the time I felt like maybe I was being a bit melodramatic.

My kids are older now (the one in the pic is twelve and in middle school!!) but I now feel that this kind of thing is timeless.  I still cherish these kinds of quiet nature moments that are strikingly beautiful, and in this loud world, I sometimes still need the reminder to center myself in the moment.

Enjoy :)

How to Watch a Sunset with Your Kids

1.  Find a Spot With a Nice View

A sprawling forested mountainside or the sparkling shore of a vast ocean would be ideal, but a small yard decorated with those, ahem, artistically placed brown dirt patches and a rusting grill {that you’ve been promising yourself for over a year now that you would clean} will suffice.

Work with what you’ve got.

2.  Relax

Sit down.  Lean on a railing.  Lay out on a towel.  Chill.

This one actually may take some preparation.  For example, if you don’t want to find yourself trying to run through the house with a child in tow after nearly choking on your soda when you heard the shriek of, “Mommy, I have to go potty RIGHT NOW!” then be sure to do a potty break {or diaper check} before you settle in.

3.  Turn Off Your Cell Phone

Or at least turn off the ringer.  If you’re like me you’ll probably want to snap a few photos with your phone, but don’t take any calls.  Don’t surf the web.  Wordle can wait.

Trust me, Facebook doesn’t need your attention.  In fact, it probably won’t even miss you.

4.  Take Off Your Shoes

It helps with the relaxing.  It removes literal and figurative pressures.

And your kids probably won’t argue, if they still have their shoes on.  My kids, for example, are constantly trying to take their shoes off.  At church, at Target, at the library … everywhere except our house, when they suddenly want to model every pair they own.

But running around outdoors without your shoes on helps you to live in the experience.

5.  Laugh

This one’s important.

6.  Let Them Get Dirty

Let them crawl around in the sand, the surf, the dirt.  Let them run though the grass in their bare feet and dance in your neatly raked piles of leaves.  Let them explore.

True, that grass stain may never come out of that shirt, but from here on out it will now function as a happy reminder of this magical moment.  If you let it.

7.  Never Take Your Eyes Off Them

As the pastels soften the horizon and transform the world around you, never take your eyes off of your children.  Because the sun will set tomorrow, just as it always has, and just as it always will.  But the sunset of your child’s youth will happen while you blink, and their innocence will disappear overnight.  So never take your eyes off of what is most precious in this world; more precious than jewels.

Watch the sunset in the crimson and coral glint on the hair of your child.  Watch the sunset in your child’s shifting shadow as it dances across the sand or the dirt or the grass at their feet.

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