Today the hive is buzzing. I live in a house full of boys. I have two sons and a husband, and sometimes the frenetic activity of our house feels like panic. These days the anxiety claws at my skin and the back of my eyes until I just need to escape.
“I’m going on a walk!” I yell through the air and slip into the garage. I slide the baby into his stroller, throw on my shoes and walk-jog out into the sunlight before a chorus of requests and needs can slow my escape. Half a block away, my pulse finally slows and I take in huge gulps of air.
The wind dances in the trees above me, rustling the leaves and sending them down to the ground like huge snowflakes. The pattern of the sun through their lace looks like tie-dye on the grass. This is my Zen: the cracked sidewalk, the blowing plants and nobody speaking my name.
I cross the street to the park, pushing the stroller and humming to myself. My route measures one mile, and I walk it slowly. I stroll past the gaggles of spandex-clad moms lunging and squatting, and step aside to let sprinters and joggers pass. I am in no hurry.
I stop and sit on a bench near rose bushes, although I am not tired. Scrolling through my phone for 5 minutes, I notice I am uninterrupted by stories about Minecraft or questions about dinner. The baby can’t talk yet. He smiles at me and I smile at him but I don’t speak a word. Not now.
I rise and we slowly wind around the park, past the tennis courts. I pause to admire the players as they sprint across the court. The ball, bright like a sun, slices through the sky. Maybe this will be the summer I take tennis lessons. It seems more likely that I will sign my son up for them. That’s the way it goes.
We meander past the baseball fields, full of red dirt and sweaty dreams. High school boys galumph around the bases, trying on personas as they practice plays. Suddenly time is like an elastic band squeezing my chest until it’s hard to breathe. I am seeing my son in their faces. He is only five now, but parent time goes in warp speed and I know growth is coming, an asteroid huge and unavoidable.
The last stretch goes around the elementary school, which I love. My own childhood memories mingle with my bittersweet mom feelings about kindergarten, and I wistfully smile as I wind around the playground.
Today someone has eaten an orange, and the peel lays scattered on the sidewalk like bits of abandoned potpourri. Wind gently blows my hair across my face and I squint against the sun. Orange rind lays bright against the concrete, like glowing breadcrumbs leading me home.
I burst in that same door that I hurried out of, and am met with an ambush of kisses. “Mommy I love you. I’m so glad you’re back!” my five year old exclaims as he laces his fingers around my neck in a snuggly hug. He’s slightly sweaty, sticky and smells a little like socks, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s nice to be home.