Around the time that the clocks changed last October the boys started to get very interested in darkness and night time.
They got spooked if we were out after dark and asked “Is it midnight, it looks very late?”
One night, Ciarán complained to his Daddy and I that he never got to “go out at night” the way grown-ups do and he suggested that a “nightwalk” might be a way to address this. His Daddy gamely agreed, wellies and boots were put on and a torch acquired and off the three boys headed around our estate in darkness. They were convinced that they would meet all sorts of weird and wonderful night creatures as they set off.
Fifteen minutes later they arrived back thrilled with themselves, reporting a sighting of a worm, thousands of stars and the moon.
And thus began our tradition of nightwalks.
I was brought on one with just Ciarán in Duncannon during Spring midterm, we headed down the street with our torches and even went on to the beach in the pitch dark. We watched trawlers land at the quay and headed back up the hill home.
The next visit to Duncannon Uncle Brian was requested to chaperone, and Cathal preferred to stay home again. Ciarán suggested that perhaps Uncle Brian would like a pint (he knows his uncle well) and they visited a local pub, sat on high stools and drank hot chocolate and a pint. This excellent precedent provided me with a glass of wine on my next nightwalk,
On another visit Grandad was invited and he left his walking stick (for scaring dogs, not to help his mobility) behind in the pub post-hot chocolate but Ciarán helpfully ran back down the street in lightning speed to retrieve it.
On our holidays in Clifden nightwalks were suggested, but it being July we couldn’t wait til dark so just took it in turns for each child to “bring Mammy or Daddy for a drink” (thanks to my twitter friends Una and Paudi for this idea).
Sometimes, with all the madness we forget that little things that we think nothing of can be so exciting for a child, so this midterm, grab a torch and your coat and see what your kids think of the idea.