Yesterday I took Joey IV to Foote Memorial Park for some fresh air and because I am struggling to drop my last 20 pregnancy pounds because a good walk would do us both good.
Joey IV slept like a lump in his stroller and I had lots of time to let my mind wander as I circled the park lap after lap, the smooth pavement guiding my way. I thought about Joey IV hanging like a loose rag doll in the stroller – he’s too small to fill out the big bucket right now but I know soon enough he’ll be busting out of that nylon harness. I wonder as I push the stroller and let it slip from my hands and glide on its own in front of me, if he could actually somehow slip out of the safety device. I know this is not possible and I catch the stroller after one and half strides and I push him away again.
I try to enjoy the warm breeze from nearby Long Island Sound and listen to the birds nesting and visiting the bountiful trees of the park. I try so hard to “be” in the moment but I am not very good at it. My mind quickly slips to my most recent preoccupation, my occupation, and I think about the future. I think about my career. How will I juggle Joey IV and work? Will I be good at being a mom? Will my job change? My mind races and Joey IV sleeps in a deep, peaceful slumber.
I round the corner past the tennis courts and as my mind wanders thinking about how I’ll never be someone who plays tennis, a gathering near the swings shifts my attention. A father pushes his new child who is maybe eight months old – I am still really bad at recognizing the age of children by the amount of chub in their cheeks – and a mother stands in front of the swing documenting the event on video. A grandmother is nearby beaming. The child, who may have special needs, appears to never have been on a swing before and he is laughing and shrieking with joy. He is smiling with lips stretched as far as humanly possible. I am so touched realizing that this woman has captured this experience of sheer joy and elation on video. At that very moment, all four of them are “in” the moment and I am pulled in as well.
Joey IV and I emerge from the scene for one last lap around the park and we stop halfway to sit under the shade of a tree. Joey IV is still sleeping soundly but I gently pull him from his harness and sit him in the grass with me. We both listen to the sounds of nature and I notice the beauty of the tree bark and the way the light dances through the leaves. I hope Joey IV can smell the earth and enjoy the way the wind dances across his skin. The moment is short-lived but for the time I am really “in” it and I quietly thank the baby on the swing for reminding me how to just “be.”