A walk in the park…

As part of the small achievable goals approach to my more gentle, simpler life, I planned to go for an early morning walk MOST mornings, just 15 or 20 minutes with Teddy, a quiet way to start each day. Some head clearing time to enjoy the cool crispness of the early morning light, some exercise, some me time.

I started on Wednesday and it was perfect, such a gorgeous way to start the day. I got back before the kids had even really realised I was gone and was fresh and bright and cheery. A whole new way to start my mornings. I was hooked.

On Thursday I got up and into my walking gear, as I crept out our bedroom door I heard a familiar little voice call out, like she did every morning, ‘Muummmeeeee, I’m awaaaaake!’ I smiled like I do every morning when I hear it but my heart also sank just the tiniest bit, no way was I getting out of the house without her. ‘Never mind’, I thought, I’ll throw her in the buggy and power walk a few blocks around the streets. Easy.

I scooped her up and told her we were going for a walk, ‘Can I come?” she asked eyes shining. ‘Of course’, I answered ‘but we have to be quick’. I dressed her and tiptoed down the hall with her in my arms, still intent on my mission. A blonde head popped out from the bottom bunk as I walked past the boys room, ‘Where are you going mum?’ Eli asked sleepily.

‘Just out for a quick walk mate, I’ll be back soon’.

‘Can I come?’

I sighed. ‘Ok, but I’m going now’.

‘Me too!’ came a voice from the top bunk and Oscar jumped down with lighting speed.

Not quite what I had planned.

I sighed again but tried to stay cheerful. ‘Ok you can all come but we are going right now’.

They’ve never, ever, got dressed so fast. Then the bickering started, and the ‘I can’t find my shoes’, and the ’mum can you help me with my laces’. Then I got impatient and took a stand.

‘You know what, no, you can’t all come! This is meant to be my time, my early morning walk. I’m going!’

Willow burst into tears and the boys looked crestfallen. I took my stand right back again.

‘Oh alright! You can come, just hurry!’ It was everything but peaceful me-time.

Shoes found, shoelaces done, bickering silenced and we were out the door.

Until Nick piped up with, ‘I’ll be gone when you get back’. So we all had to troop back for goodbyes and for me to remind him to lock the front door because he really did need to be more vigilant about our security. He may have rolled his eyes at me but kissed me anyway and I huffed off, wondering why on earth I was bothering.

We finally left. I was still cranky but resigned.

Then we opened the back gate and the light hit me, and the birdsong, and the early morning gorgeous and I laughed, and they laughed and suddenly it was perfect.

They ran ahead, they danced, they chased Teddy, I walked around the oval a couple of times watching these three perfect beautiful children play in the soft sunshine and wondered how I got so lucky. I felt  grateful that despite not wanting to go on my walk with them that morning, we’d made it out the gate and everything had changed.

There will come a day all too soon when I will miss my children’s footsteps beside me, when my morning walks are silent and my me-time seems endless. A time when I long for the sound of their voices, for the endless questions, for them to still be small enough, and near enough, for me to ruffle their hair.

I know some time for me to catch my breath, alone, is important. It makes me calmer, a better mother, a more peaceful person. But I can choose another time. If my children want to walk with me in the morning, then I will let them, every single time. And it will make my heart smile. I will want them to walk beside for as long as they want to be there, and long after.

Things don’t always go to plan and I am learning to loosen my grip on my expectations of how things should be.

It wasn’t the walk I planned, it was better. And I hope they come again tomorrow :)