As I open the front door, the seventy-five degree January day stops me in my tracks. It always has, ever since moving from snow to sunshine a decade ago. A warm breeze ruffles the palm tree in our neighbor’s yard and sends a little ripple of sound through our otherwise quiet neighborhood. I take a deep breath in and smell the jasmine from our other neighbor’s bush. I exhale gratitude. I’ve always been a bit of a brown thumb myself.
Click! Something about the real-time feedback in my hands of the stroller pieces snapping into place signals to me “Okay, we’re ready.” I fill up the bottom basket with anything we might need. We’re only going a short way, but a mother can never be too prepared. What if we scrape our knees at the park? What if their tummies rumble? What if they throw a tantrum on our way back? Motherhood has taught me that anything is possible, and it will surprise you when you least expect it. My defense mechanism is to try to be completely and unmistakably prepared with all the things at all times. The things I will require myself to be prepared with will change as our seasons of childhood change, but my constant is that I will always try to be prepared. And yet ironically, it’s perhaps the incessant preparation that leaves me feeling most empty when we encounter something I didn’t anticipate.
I adjust the positions of both seats, another click — and make sure snacks are dispersed to those who are partaking. The toys are within reach, and the sun is not too bright on either of them. I run through the mental checklist of things before I let my body press “go”. This is what living with anxiety looks like, I softly acknowledge to myself, hoping it’s not obvious to anyone but me.
We turn out of our driveway and set out on our way. I’m not sure where we are going yet — that’s always a gametime decision. Maybe the park. Maybe the little free library. Maybe both. It doesn’t matter; at least we are together. I have both of my precious boys strapped in the stroller in front of me. I can see them, hear them, teach them. They can’t run from me. They are safe.
As the sun starts to get a little brighter, my mind wanders. What will happen when their little arms and legs and minds grow too big to fit inside our stroller? What will happen when the buckles no longer click around their growing torsos? What do I do then? That day will come soon enough, and I’m not naive to that. How will I keep them safe if I can’t have them secured in front of me when we go out in the world? I’m not prepared for that yet, and I’m not quite sure how to. I suppose I can just pray and hope that all we’ve taught them will keep them safe.
Hi! I'm Laura, a 30-something mama raising her 2 little dudes in southern California. It's been quite a journey and this is my way to try to make sense of it all. This is a safe space for all moms to get some laughs, recommendations and feel like they are not alone.