Just another day
The day it happened, I had no clue that anything out of the ordinary was about to transpire. It was started off normally enough, just another day, that would be added to the nameless rabble of days that were categorized as do this, do that, typical kind of days, that dominated the early years of my life with my son.
I lived in Mommy Guilt
Much as any other parent, I was and still am, tied to a smartphone, calendars of work and home both synced and reminders bombarding me constantly, lest I forgot and inevitably, despite my careful reminders set to go off at certain times, I still did forget. I think I lived in constant Mommy Guilt, the first four years of his life. My son and I were attending our normal activity, feeding ducks at our favorite park and when he had stuffed the ducks with their weekly ration in less than half an hour, he had resorted to sitting down on the grassy bank and tossing rocks into the water, fascinated as he watched the resulting ripples as they spread out in widening circles from each impact.
“Rocks sink,” he said
“Yes babe, they do. All rocks sink when you throw them in the water. They’re heavy”, I replied, ruffling his hair and sitting down next to him, thinking of what came next, what I was forgetting, anything but what he was saying. He looked up at me and smiled. Every parent knows that wide open smile of their child, the one that simply says how happy that child is, just to be around and learning about the great world around them. Despite myself, I relaxed, watched him throw in a few more rocks before I joined him, both of us enjoying the plonk sound the rocks made and the ripples that followed.
“Sticks float,” he said
He picked up a few twigs on the grass next to him and one by one threw them in, eyes sharp, watching what reaction this new development would produce. When he threw the last twig in, he looked up at me with the same smile and said “Sticks float”. I smiled and replied, still not getting it yet. “Yes honey, wood floats on water, it’s lighter than rocks. See?” I handed him a rock to hold in one hand, a twig in the other. He held each and studied both objects solemnly for a moment and looked up at the bright blue sky, dotted here and there with white puffy clouds.
“Ducks fly,” he said
His hand, always so warm dropped the stick and held my hand and he turned that smile back on me. “Ducks fly in the sky and I love you”, he told me. I had relaxed so much, just sitting in the grass next to him, on a day that I was supposed to be running errands and doing about a gazillion other things, that when he said this, these few sentences of him putting things together, in his mind, these few simple facts of life, that I promptly forgot what I needed to do, and did what I should have been doing all along. I hugged him tight against me and for the first time in a very long time, I felt free, to enjoy a bright sunny afternoon with my son in the park, doing what mattered most. At the end of the day, isn’t it all about enjoying who you are and who you’re with, rather than what you’ve managed to cross off a To Do List, that matters most?