When I found a small rock on St Paddy’s Day, painted neatly with an Irish flag, I was THIS close to leaving it behind. But instead I decided to keep it, and that throwaway decision changed the course of my family’s evening. In fact, it sent us on a magical journey that didn’t end until after twilight.
Who would have thought that one small, painted rock would cause so much excitement?
The rock in question was lying all alone beneath the climbing frame where my two girls were playing happily. It looked pretty so I picked it up, but when I turned it over I found on the other side the words ‘NOR Rocks’ next to a Facebook logo. Mmmmm, curious.
Or was it? In the snippy mood I was in, which wasn’t at all suited to hanging happily about in playgrounds, I immediately wondered what this ‘NOR Rocks’ was selling and what other unsuspecting parents might fall into their alluring trap! What if when I looked them up on Facebook I’d be forced to view their products? Jewellery perhaps? A garden centre maybe? A local event for St. Paddy’s Day? Whoever they were and whatever they were selling, I was determined not to play their game.
But the rock, it looked so pretty. And why would it be left in a playground? Would the person who chose its resting place really be so manipulative as to hoodwink the play of children?
In that moment, I dropped my guard and whipped out my phone from my pocket. NOR Rocks. I typed it into the Facebook search and up popped a photograph of the exact same rock I’d found, as well as several other Irish-themed rocks, including a leprechaun hat, a shamrock, and a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. They were cute, artistic, the stories they evoked were magical and as it turns out NOR Rocks weren’t actually selling anything at all:
A little bit of fun for kids and parents alike. Go hunting for rocks in your local park, or paint some to leave for others. Keep, re-hide or relocate.
What? Just for fun? Are you serious?!
As if on cue, my eldest girl let out a squeal as she came running from the playground towards me.
“Mummy, mummy, look! It’s a gold rock!”
She’d found it under the slide — another rock like the ones in the photo.
“Wow, Eve,” I replied. “Guess what? There are more rocks here to find. Look here.”
Her little face lit up as she studied the picture on my phone, and then off she went, shouting out to her sister and two friends about how they had to hunt for rocks.
It was so lovely to hear them chatter about the many hiding places they’d searched and the places they still needed to check. They worked together as a team, sometimes following each other, sometimes splitting up for speed. And before too long, they’d found the rainbow, and then up popped the Irish hat. With one rock each now, each child was happy and they gathered for a photo with glee.
When it was time to go home, the question remained, what would we do with the rocks? As suggested by NOR Rocks, we could keep them, re-hide them, or relocate them in a different spot. They only asked that, if we hid them, we posted a photo so that others could follow the hunt. I thought it was great that we could share the fun we were having with others, and I hoped the girls would feel the same way.
They did. A decision was made to take the rocks home first to show daddy and then after dinner we would hide them in a park closer to home.
And so the adventure continued. But only because we chose it. Our usual evening had become unusual and one we would always remember.
Bedtime drinks consumed, dressing gowns on, we hit the road. The sun was fading fast and the girls were excited to be out so late. Gold rock and flag rock in their pockets, the usual five-minute walk to the park became nearly fifteen minutes of laughter, girly chats, and silly walks. All the worries of the day forgotten, we had intention, we had adventure, we had connection.
As we finally reached the park, I felt so happy with my decision to take a chance on a little ol’ rock and not let my earlier crappy mood destroy a magical moment before it had even started. The signs were there, of course. I’ve been feeling far from magical these past few weeks, my inspired thoughts all shrivelled up. Snipping at my children, shouting at my dogs, I was beginning to slide into stress-dom. And that’s a place I hate to be.
But that one small rock had a message for me, and I’m very glad I listened.
At the park, we left the stones in plain sight — one on the roundabout, one on the swing — excited for someone else to find them. The girls were tired now, so we made our way back home to tell Daddy all about it. Even though the girls had become strangely attached to these rocks, they were more than happy to leave them for another person to find them and have as much fun as we had.
And do you know what? Our rocks were found. That’s the beauty of the group and the way the rock game works. I could follow the hunt online. A chain of fun and interaction.
Why don’t you paint some rocks and get the rock hunt started where you are? You’ll never look at a park the same way again.
I can’t stop looking for rocks wherever I go now. And next weekend, we’re painting some because I seem to have found a new hobby. Thank you NOR Rocks. What a wonderful idea!
PS. The next morning, the girls were so excited to see if the rocks had been found, we had to go back to the park in the rain 🙂