In the past few weeks, I’ve caught myself pausing to enjoy the moment much more often. I’ve spent so much time the last few years worrying about what needed to be done and feeling so frazzled that it wasn’t done yet that I missed out on a lot of special moments my children gave me.
On May 31st, my oldest son had a school field trip to our local zoo. He had asked me and asked me if I could pleaseeeee go, and I kept telling him that I had his brothers and was busy and wouldn’t be able to make it. The night before his field trip, I decided I was going to take his brothers and go surprise him! My husband asked me if I was sure I wanted to take the boys and do that, as I’d not taken all three boys out together on my own to do something fun like this ever. In fact, I hadn’t gone and done something on my own, happily, with my boys since my middle son, E, was an infant. The mere thought would leave me shaking and crying and a hot mess for days. He told me our oldest, B, would never know I had considered going, and it could be our secret.
But that next morning, I took my boys to the zoo. And when B asked if he could bring a friend along to walk with us, I didn’t have to tell him no. We walked and played at the zoo all day. No fighting, no yelling, no tears. I just enjoyed my children.
And then, instead of sitting in a corner and crying, being a nasty mom and wife once we got home, I sat in the grass and watched my oldest ‘rake hay.’ I made us dinner. We played outside.
I’m taking my kids with me to get groceries. I’m taking them to Chuck E Cheese to run around and play. I’m taking them out for dinner. Solo. Ben has been working such long and hard hours on the house that these boys deserve some special time focused on them. Six months ago, I wasn’t even grocery shopping without my husband. I couldn’t leave the house without him but to take B to school and to go to my mom’s to visit for the day. And even then, those things seemed like such a chore.
I’m breaking bedtime rules to go on tractor rides because ‘let them be little.’ Tractor rides are their absolute favorite. The don’t care if they’re in the field for the day or just going around the block. As long as they get a turn to drive, they’re in.
We’re going on walks again. I was so afraid of who I might see when I was out and about, I would make up any excuse to stay home and not go outside. Can you believe that? I lived in so much fear, I wouldn’t even walk around the block with my boys. We live in the country for crying out loud. Surrounded by grape vineyards. But I was so consumed by the fear, I couldn’t move. Now, we walk almost every day. We wander our small town finding and relocating rocks residents in the town have painted and hid in an effort to get others out into the community again. We go to the park. We laugh. I hold my oldest son’s hand and relive life through his eyes. He helps me pull the wagon that his brothers ride in and boasts about how much stronger than me he is.
B races me around the yard and prides himself on how fast he is. He wants to play baseball and football and soccer. With me. Not his dad. Me. And I can play. He asks me to jump on the trampoline with him and lay out there and gaze up at the sky to see what characters and objects we can make out of the clouds.
I let so much pass me by in the last five years. I could regret all the time lost, but I’m not going to let myself do that. I’m going to enjoy the time my kids offer me now, and I’m not going to miss out on so many wonderful moments from now on.
This is the good life. These are the moments I’d always dreamed of. This is the motherhood I pictured I’d be living. Right here. With them.