The promise of trust.

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I do a lot of crafty things with my nieces and nephews.

It's sort of my "thing" with them.

Whenever I'm visiting, we draw or paint or make something together.

Usually it's just one thing, one little project, but this past holiday season I got super organized and hosted a full-day, multi-project Christmas Craft Camp for two of my nieces (11 and 9) and two of my nephews (7 and 6), all siblings.

They arrived, springing through the door with anticipation, and I briefed them on our five craft projects for the day: two paintings, two ornaments and a card.

They were pumped.

Two hours into our arting adventures, I could sense the crew was getting a bit restless so I suggested we go for a little nature walk in the patch of woods behind my parents' place.

There was some resistance but the promise of hot chocolate with marshmallows and whip cream upon our return got boots on, coats zipped and the gaggle out the door.

It was a perfect, crisp winter day with fresh, fluffy snow everywhere.

We crunched down the path towards the park and into the forest.

The girls were happy to walk along the path with me, one with her hands in her pockets because she was too cool to wear mitts, and the other wondering aloud how many steps this nature walk would tally up on her new FitBit.

The boys, on the other hand, ran ahead and wanted to scamper down small, secret trails and uncover fox dens and hidden forts.

I called to them to stay on the main path.

Hannah, their oldest sister, rolled her well-practiced pre-teen eyes and said, sighing, "they're sooo annoying, they nevvvver listen".

But the boys kept pressing, determined little devils, saying, "trust us, we can go this way. We've done it before. We know were this trail goes".

And finally I relented.

Because honestly, what did it matter if it was the wrong path?

We were not going to get stranded in the woods, die of hypothermia or get eaten by wolves. There was ZERO chance of this happening.

The worst that might happen is we'd have to back track, get more exercise, and spend more time in together, in nature. And maybe get a little bit cold.

What in the name of all things glitter and glue guns was I worried about?!

So, I said yes.

I yelled at the girls, who had walked up ahead on the main trail, to come back because we were going to trust the boys and see what happened.

I let them lead.

And you know what happened?

Everyone but me got eaten by wolves.

Okay, not really.

You know what really happened?

We had a lovely walk down a secret path that eventually opened up into the large park behind my mom and dad's place.

When we got back to the house, I held the door open as they all tumbled inside and said, "well, that was a great nature adventure, thanks pals!"

And Wyatt, my oldest nephew, looked at me smiling, knowingly, told-you-so-ingly, and said, "see, aren't you glad you trusted us?".

I was.

I am.

Because it was a good lesson in listening and letting go.

And in trusting that everything would turn out just fine.

That winter would become spring.

That the path would lead to the right place.

That sometimes the small trails are the best ones to take.

And it was a good reminder to trust kids.

The ones in our lives.

And the one inside.

Karen Ward