October 1, 2007

Innocence of an early Fall Day

My babysitter had a situation to deal with today that required her to close, therefore I had to stay at home with my 3 yr old. We left the house this am around 6:45 to drop my 6 yr old at school and then came back home. By 7:30am it was raining. Then it stopped, rained again around 10ish, and then cleared up. We hung out inside, though, cause it was just easier. At 1, we left to get my oldest. I have an attached garage, so I don't actually go outside until I step out of my car at my destination. Or, in a case like today, until I roll the window down at the mailbox.

When I pulled up at the mailbox in front of the house and put the window down, the first thing to hit me was the temperature: It was beautiful. Comfortable, warm but not hot, cool but not cold, just that perfect temperature that makes you wish for this moment to last forever.

The next thing to hit me was the smell. You know that smell you smell when fall is just beginning? It's that indescribable scent that you just associate with fall: crisp, good, cleansing. It's not one you can explain with words like "salty" "spicy" or anything like that. It's just that smell that seems to float it's way into your nose, clearing out pollution, allergies, stress, all of it. It seems almost to slide into your brain, massaging the tension of life away, for that one moment anyway. It's also a fleeting scent. You only smell it that one time, at the beginning of fall. Tomorrow, well tomorrow it's supposed to rain, but if it weren't, the smell still wouldn't be the same. That first time you smell it, you have to breathe deep, take it all in, savor it, enjoy it, revel in it, because the next time you try to find it, it will be gone.

It was so wonderful I took my kids out into the backyard after we got back from school. Homework was left on the table for later, dinner put in the freezer to be cooked whenever we got to it, and the phone left where it was. No one needed to interrupt my precious time with my babies. So, we went out back, laid on the ground, and found shapes in the clouds. I haven't done that in so many years...I don't even remember when the last time was. Just like riding a bike, it all came back instantly. I saw a sheep, a girl on a unicorn, a duck, a dog, and when my oldest saw a crocodile, it took me only a split second to see through his eyes and see it, too. At one moment, even with my sunglasses on, I found my thoughts turning to complaints about the sun being too bright. I mentally slapped the thought away. Children don't complain about that. They simply squint and enjoy the moment; so that is what I did. I'll have crow's feet for it; who cares? I got to be a kid again for just a few moments, and it was wonderful.

Tomorrow morning, the alarm will go off at 5:30, that ungodly hour of the day when it is still dark and quiet and I'm starting my day with dressing, making lunches, and deciding how to wear my hair for yet another day at a job I'm growing to dislike more and more by the day. At that time, the stress, worry, tension, responsibility, and aggravation of adulthood will rush back in. And at that time, I will welcome them with open arms, as they are my life now. But for this afternoon, for tonight, I'm simply a girl. I may be 28, but that doesn't mean I can't still be a girl every now and then. Yes, I helped with homework, cooked dinner and loaded the dishwasher. But you know what? None of that pushed me back up the ladder to adulthood. It probably would have if I'd let it; I didn't. Like I said, tomorrow morning is soon enough. Right now, as I sit here with my fingers flying over the keyboard as they have since high school, I am nothing more than a girl. Old sitcoms on TV, 80's music on the stereo, a good book at my side, it all combines to make me feel as though I've gone back to that simpler time. That time when bills and grocery shopping were someone else's responsibility, and all I had to do was eat, sleep, do homework, and hang out with my friends.

Friendships are harder to maintain now. Grocery shopping and bill paying take up the time that used to be spent with friends. Homework has been replaced with real work, although homework still comes into play when your little one struggles, or when you want to be sure they understand how important education is. Eating and sleeping become things to schedule instead of things to enjoy, and even those things you enjoy so much tend to feel like chores because you have to plan and plot to make time for them, much as you would plan doing the laundry or plot who will do the vacuuming today.

Even with all the responsibilty, the chores, the bills, and everything else; I think we all need to take some time every now and then to lay down in the back yard and see the shapes in the clouds. To smell that sweet, here-and-then-gone scent of fall in the air. To feel the balm of smooth temperatures flow like tender fingertips across your skin. Squint into the sun without complaint; you can buy some Olay later to cure the wrinkles. Laugh with your children. They'll be thrilled; and so will you, if you just let yourself. Don't let Life stop you from enjoying your life.

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