It started out innocently enough.
Get up. Get out. Walk.
I never expected to fall in love.
The crisp morning air. The crackle of leaves underfoot. Clouds blown out by high winds stretching across the sky.
There’s skipping and laughing and pointing from both my children: the 8 year old school kid and the 4 year old hang-out-with-mom kid. They stand on tree stumps and shuffle through the grass. A crow caws at us from his perch on a eucalyptus branch. We skirt by the playground and head down the hill.
We greet the crossing guards: “Happy New Year!” Race up the next hill. The magic starts when I see a mom in front of us touch a rose. It’s quick. I almost missed it. Instead of walking by the beautiful red beauty hanging over the fence, she lovingly cups it in one hand. And lets it go, moving on to the rest of her day and all the busy-ness awaiting her.
For that one moment, it’s like time stopped. I know that feeling. I love that feeling! The peace in acknowledging the simple beauty around us everyday. I bet it made her day better.
After my big guy is at school, my little girl somehow knows we’re not on a schedule anymore. She takes my hand, we sing songs, and she turns into Nature Girl. We cross the street again without the crossing guards. She spots a sow bug and plays with it for a while making it roll up and willing it to open and walk in her hand.
When we get back to the park she makes a wish on a dandelion that “Only girls can hear.” I can’t repeat it, but it’s a beautiful wish. She giggles on the tire swing and makes a run on the rest of the playground. We play hopscotch together.
It’s when she says “Mommy, I love you” with the wistfulness of a delicate princess that I fall in love all over again. I know it’s her thank you for all the fun we had outdoors. On a simple stroll to school and back.
The best part? It’s a dream date I’m lucky enough to repeat day after day after day.