Just like that, I was part of the world again.
As my daughter and I sat on a bench at the mall, licking our vanilla ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles, I watched as people browsed shops, peered casually into store windows, or bought a soda at the cafe.
I saw young mothers slowly pushing strollers, old couples in matching sneakers getting their daily exercise, and plenty of college and high school girls clustered in groups. All of them looked perfectly at home. This was nothing out of the ordinary for them.
Life goes on, does it, during the hours of 12:30-3? I considered. People leave the house at this time?
I had spent the better part of the last five years at home in the afternoon hours, devoted to the nap routines of my two children. I had just reluctantly given up the fight of putting my preschooler down for her nap, and it felt momentous to leave the house and do something novel– something other than frantically picking up a prescription or buying a jug of milk.
I looked down at my little daughter, her face covered in sticky white ice cream, and whispered, “Isn't this fun, Elizabeth? Getting new shoes and having ice cream with Mama?”
She nodded and smiled. We finished our ice cream and then spent time going up and down the escalator as many times as she wanted. We were in no rush.