Let me preface this by saying that contrary to the tenor of lines one and two, this story turns out to be much more uplifting, and dare I say inspiring, than one might think. So read on, friend. You’ll see what I mean.
Big brother is sick again. Which means that mommy, too, is housebound. Today was day three, and I’d had about enough of my laptop screen, lovely as it is, so I decided for the sake of our communal sanity to venture out. I chose Veteran’s Park by the Redondo Pier since on Thursdays the Farmer’s Market comes to town (hubby and I watched Food Inc. last night and have a healthy fire under our butts. Hooray for kale!).
The medicated kiddo and I arrived at the park precisely at 9 am, fed the meter, and began our 2.2 mile stroller walk to the Hermosa Beach pier. We chatted along the way, stopped at the local Sea Lab to check out some sharks, dipped our bare feet in the sand, fed peanuts to some dirty pigeons, then turned around and played Eye Spy the whole way back.
Bliss, I tell you, absolute bliss. Okay, in truth it was probably more like bliss spiked with shards of guilt for the work I had left lying on my bed at home. Or more accurately moments of bliss, dominated mostly by the type of all encompassing guilt usually reserved for convicts and Catholics. Because who, I asked myself repeatedly, WHO besides me has the pleasure or right to set aside the ‘ol J-O-B in favor of a sunny stroll on a Thursday? When did it become fair for me to spend an entire three hour morning flouncing down the strand in a tank top and sunglasses while everyone else sits benched behind their desks? Why am I suddenly allowing myself this privilege that, until now, was reserved for weekends or vacation?
The answer to all of these questions is simply because. Because I said so (first and last time I’ll ever say that). Because I need it. Because I love my boys. Because I know they’re growing up so quickly and I refuse to miss it. Because the sun and the beach and the breeze are so glorious. Because I want so very badly to be present and enjoy the tiny in between moments where we really spend most of our lives.
Oh, and it also helped that on the walk back to the park I ran into a sweet former client of mine joyfully riding her beach cruiser through the marina with a pack of fellow mamas on the loose. They were headed to lunch, she explained, because summer is near so they’re packing in as much solo fun as they can before the kids get out of school. I love this mom, and the permission that she gave me today to enjoy – my – life. Today. Because that’s all any of us really has.
When little dude, the stroller, and I wheeled our way back into the parking lot, it was with sweaty pits, sunburned shoulders, three bags of farm fresh produce, and happy happy hearts. We dropped our treasures in the trunk, grabbed the picnic bag, and sat on the grass. Then played on the structure. And hugged a lot.
I drove home feeling a whole lot less guilty about this midweek rendezvous with my son than I had just three hours before. And tonight as I comb through the day’s memories I’m making a promise to wake up each morning with the same free spirit that I’ll be going to sleep with tonight. Call me a gypsy. I think I was one in a past life. Call me a flower child. My parents were. Call me mama. That one’s my favorite. I hope my kiddos remember me as all three.