Just a walk

It’s a heartbreakingly gorgeous morning. I’m taking a long walk with two babies—one, my 18-month old son, the other, my neighbor’s baby girl—both buckled snugly into the double stroller.

We set out to the sound of crying. First stop, the bakery for donuts. My son offers to share his with the baby, but she’s too little. Next, back on our path, we pass a little dress shop. Suddenly aware that I have neither walkers nor talkers in tow, I brave the narrow doorway.

“I have three kids, so I knew two little babies in the stroller would be nothing,” I blurt to the shop girl. I quickly snag a cute dress for next weekend’s date night, and zip back out. I head toward the lake. Baby girl settles, and finally I can think. My steps, deliberate, fall into rhythm with my thoughts.

My mind opens when I can hear the birds singing, when I can see the lake on the horizon, when I can smell the cherry blossoms barely open on their branches. I do have the mom thing down, I know. I can juggle things so that everyone gets what they want some of the time, and that is a gift. But what’s my next challenge? Just as transcendence begins to light the edges of my mind, reality sharpens back into focus. Baby girl cries again, and I wonder—call her mom or brave a quick stop at the park so my son can play on the slide?

I chance the park.