It seems like these days, alone time with my baby boy is rare. Always having family close by since his birth has been wonderful, but I struggle with our lack of alone time. My uterus cries when he is not near me, as if a piece of me is missing. And even when I hold him close to my heart, he is not near enough. I am literally finger pecking this blog just to have him near me. I am now one of those moms who spoils their little one because, unlike before when our whole days were spent together, now it’s only a few hours a day we have with each other.
And so, while we aren’t together I want him to have anything and everything to preoccupy himself and keep him happy.
While some may cringe as they read that sentence, I urge you to please read further; I know the best thing to give my little one is my time. Not just watching television, even though cuddle times are the best. Not just bubble baths, because those stinky feet need to be cleaned. But, all the little extra things that we sometimes forget to slow down to do. Deep toddler conversations, because even toddlers see the small ants crawling in a pile of dirt. Deep laughs, because who else wouldn’t want to feel free taking in the world around us through a fun obstacle course with other miniatures.
And what better way to do this than at the park.
As I grow older I find it funny, yet a bit alarming, that playtime at the park has become less magical to me. It’s such a reminder that the world is spinning, and so is the time I have with my son. I no longer find myself filled with butterflies and excitement at the idea of going to the park. Nowadays, I usually need a cup of joe in hand to get me through these park experiences, but I go just to see those faint dimples appear in my son’s cheeks, and those big brown eyes filled with joy.
The other day as I was swinging my son Orion, he threw his head back to take in the big blue skies and enjoy the ride. And I thought: I am so grateful that even with a long workday I am able to do something free, and fun for my son. And so began the days at the park, when life could still be magical; I am constantly reminded to enjoy these times by little happenings at the park. Fellow moms, please be sure to share where your head lies at the park, as I am curious for other perspectives.
But for now, here’s what I’ve been reminded of lately at the park and why the park is always a positive experience:
- Even Little Brave Souls Need an Anchor. Even though Orion is quite the adventurous catch, and brave one at that, he still finds himself in a rut here and there and it’s still my name he calls to come rescue him. I am constantly reminded that he needs me, just as much as I need to be needed by him. With my strong-willed kid these times come rarely, so it’s a joyous feeling that it happens at the park.
- Patience Happens When You Least Expect It. Piggy-backing off my first observation, I have found that Orion has learned to stop and yell for help when he needs help using a tool. The other day as I was watching my son, my mind wandered off his preciousness and I didn’t realize he was trying to project his voice in one of those trumpet microphones at the park. He was standing in front of the device calling for help so he could reach it. My heart melted, and I enjoyed taking the time to pick him up to let his belly roll.
- You Can Find a Friend in a Stranger. Orion has met many kindred friends at the park. Having moved several times since the birth of Orion, the park has been a place of solitude. So many times we find great friends at the park, and even when we don’t always exchange contact information, it’s nice to have quick friends during each of the experiences. When this happens it’s a reminder and an understanding that moms have: sometimes we need strangers to confide in for our sanity’s sake.
- Don’t Stop, Get It, Get It. And then there are those hundreds of times I have to drop everything to chase my little munchkin because…how else could be a little boy. As quickly as I chase him with frustration, once I catch him I am tickled because I am a reminded that for the REST of my life I will always be trying to catch up to him. And never, will I regret these moments.
Being the deep thinker that I am, you see, I can now find joy in the park; it’s a time to daydream and reminisce sweet moments with my little one. It’s these one-hour breathers that make my son a happy camper and me a happy mama.