I was at the park with my three children on Monday. When Emme was born, I envisioned myself taking my child/children to the park, and peacefully sitting on a brightly colored picnic blanket with a good book while my offspring frolicked about me.
Then I woke up.
I don’t think I’ve ever even sat down at the park. Much less taken my eyes off of my children to pop open a book. Park days are anything but relaxing. And they usually result in a strained muscle or two (mine), some yelling (me), occasional bleeding (again, me) and the necessity to down more than the recommended daily allowance of Excedrin upon arriving home (me, me, me).
Jensen pointed to the swings. “Mama, one, two, PUSH!” I reminded him that the last time I pushed him in the swing, he puked on his Bob the Builder shoes. He pointed again, more insistently.
Okay. Dutifully we headed to the swings. I’m here to serve. I wedged him into the rubber swing, and heard him squeal, “MAMA! One, two, PUSH!” Which I did. Over and over. Checking periodically to see if he were green.
Eventually, Emme joined us two swings over. I don’t have to push her. Her long pony legs began pumping, and soon she was swinging much higher than I am comfortable with.
Jensen was gliding in his baby seat at a pretty good clip, so I thought I’d take a little breather, and I sat myself in the swing between Emme and Jensen. Sitting. Now there’s a concept.
Soon, I found myself leaning back and stretching my legs forward. Then I leaned into the wind and tucked my legs underneath me. Before I knew it, I was swinging. Higher and higher. I cannot tell you how many years it’s been since I’ve sat in a swing. To, you know, swing.
Emme giggled, “Look at you, Mommy,” as I caught up with her. We were swinging in perfect sync. I noticed how blue the sky was. How the leaves in the trees were rustling in the breeze. I felt the wind on my face, and it took my breath away.
I had forgotten. All these years, and I had forgotten how freeing it is to swing high into the air. Each time I reached the full height of the swing, and just before gravity would pull me back down, my heart skipped a beat. And I couldn’t help but to laugh out loud.
And that felt good. That felt amazing.
I stifled the urge to place my arms in front of the chains, so that I could leap off high into the air. Just like I use to do when I was Emme’s age.
And then I thought about sprained ankles, and torn ligaments, and a daughter who watches my every move, and follows in my broken footsteps.
I slowed down by dragging my sneakers into the dirt. A habit that use to drive my mother insane.
I gathered my tired band of children, and we headed for the van.
It was a good day at the park.
And for just a moment, it was wonderful to soar with the birds again.