From Perfection to Grief to Perfection Again

Maria starting the day with her yoga moves

We woke up this morning to a hazy, slightly chilly morning with no rain in sight and a double stroller screaming for a tour through the city.   Jon had gone East for one more try at turkey hunting, which left me for a second day of bliss with my darling children (Saturday had been filled with a three-hour b-day party at an indoor pool – fun for the kids, but afterwards every parent looked like they had gone through that negative gravity machine that Chevy Chase and Dan Akroyd were in for the movie Spies Like Us). 

I was not upset at Jon taking off for the day because it was going to be a gorgeous day, which inevitably lead to lots of bike rides, stroller rides, and walks.  Within an hour of waking, we were on the road in the double stroller with our stuffed monkey and dog, two blankets and obligatory binky ar we are going to get him off that thing by age 3 (it took Maria to 4 ½).  We headed down the road to Tim Horton’s for a breakfast of sugar and dough.  It was heaven. 

Mario enjoying his timbits!

 After breakfast, we headed across the road to a bike trail that we had not experienced because we typically headed down the opposite stretch of road.  The trail was gorgeous.  You felt like you were in a national forest at times with the tree cover and the rivers on both sides of you and the birds flying closely overhead singing their morning lullabies to you.  We stopped at a bank on the river to throw stones into the water (Mario could stay in that place for three hours and enjoy every second of it).  We also snagged some killer stones for our rock garden (Maria knows how much I love rocks and she presented me with a gorgeous red one wishing me a happy mother’s day (yes, she is still celebrating!)). 

We stopped on the way back to pick wild flowers and make a bouquet for grandma.  It was perfect.  We visited our friend Kim at the fire station and presented her with a few flowers, and then went home to get dressed (yes, the kiddies begged to stay in their nighties and I could not resist – they looked too precious on a Sunday morning). 

After a quick change, we hopped back outdoors and the kids jumped on their bikes to head to the little woods down the street (we went at Maria’s request – lately she has been wanting to take walks and hikes, which I immediately agree to in order to get her away from the tv and leapster).   Maria guided us through the woods to the fire station and back down to the park and back up to our bikes all the while finding us walking sticks and cool rocks. 

Maria and Mario enjoying their tree climbing

Mario loved climbing over the giant fallen tree trunks.  They both mentioned a few times while in the woods how they were “getting exercise” to keep them healthy (yes, my influence finally shines through!).  When we got back to our bikes, we were all drained and it was quite the chore to get home.  Maria ended up getting on Mario’s tiny toddler big wheel and Mario on Maria’s bike in order to keep them amused and doing something new.  We get home and all three of us plopped down on the front steps.

“What now?” I said to them.  “I am hungry.”

Maria seconded her hunger while Mario just stared at the ants crawling on the step below.  I suggested macaroni and cheese and Maria agreed at first.  Then, a few seconds later, she piped in with a question:

Mom, how about we get Jeni’s ice cream for lunch?” 

Normally, I would have been rationale and explained that lunch was a necessity before ice cream but it was Sunday, we were exhausted, and Jeni’s Dark Chocolate and Buckeye State ice creams sounded too tempting to nix.  So, off we were in the stroller to Jeni’s for our ice cream lunch.  While eating lunch, we decided the library was the next stop because we had run out of new books. 

The library slurped us up as always and we did not leave there until an hour and half later with new books in tow and a craft that Maria made me for Mom’s Day (yes, again!).  From the library, we walked to Giant Eagle for cheese, bananas, and squeeze yogurt (Mario’s new love – he chose the “I Carly” yogurt because “she is my girlfriend” – nice influence Maria!). 

We traveled back to the house after the grocery, and crashed on the couch with popcorn and a My Little Pony video (which was luckily only a half-hour ong).  I sat on the couch with Maria on one side and Mario on the other and felt that calm elation I get every once in a while when I have been through something great or I have heard a wonderful speech or I have finished an amazing book.  I was so pleased with life. 

Jon got home shortly thereafter, and I got packed up to head to Stauf’s for a bagel and coke and a little “me” time.  As I got my stuff together, Maria asked me to play barbies with her.  I told her I was going to meet a friend for coffee. 

She flipped out. 

She bawled.

 She went boneless.

 She sobbed. 

She screamed at me.  “I don’t like your friend, mom!”

What a grand send-off after a remarkable day. 

I tried to calm her down.  I hugged her.  I told her we’d go for a walk when I got home.  I told her I loved her to the moon.  Nothing worked.  She cried and begged to come with me. 

Ok, so do I take her?  I started to feel like I should or else she may feel like she has been abandoned or not loved?  But if I took her, she may never understand that her mother needs time with friends.  But she does see me go to work every day so she knows I have friends and activities outside of her.  But since I work every day, I should take her with me on the weekends.  And the voices continue and continue… 

I chose to leave and walk to Stauf’s.  It felt necessary to get away for a few minutes but the entire time I felt the pang of motherhood.  Did I scar Maria by leaving this afternoon?  Will she feel abandoned?  Will she be stronger because she knows mom can’t be there with her every second?  Will she be more independent now?    

An hour later, I walked up to the house and saw Maria in the side of the yard. 

“Mom! Can we go on a walk now?” 

M&M watching the circus horses coming down the street

Maria posing with the elephants

No grudge for leaving; no apparent scars; all smiles.  Ok, so maybe I do worry too much.  In any case, we are back to continuing our wonderful day.  Off to see the elephants and horses walking to the railroad from the circus!     


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