Of all the active bodies in my household, I am not the first to run outside and slap on a helmet for a leisurely bike ride. You wouldn’t think I’d be like this though given I have many memories from my adolescence of my parents enforcing my sister and I spend our entire day(s) outside … in the neighborhood … using our imaginations and riding our bikes within the parameters of their comfort; this normally meant staying within a half-mile radius of our house. We always did “check-in” around mid-morning – lunch (we typically had to make ourselves a sandwich, grab water, and skid-daddle right back out,) – and, an afternoon snack. Regardless of the purpose for the check-in, we were urged to get right back out there after about ten minutes of being in the house. You know what … come to think about it, maybe this is why I am so accustomed to the Texas heat?!?!
Well, today is a new day in January 2017 and it started with a weather alert waking me up early in the morning, sharing there was a large storm headed our way and it would be with strong winds … lasting up until the mid-morning. Great – I was really looking forward to a little sun action to get me out of the bed, but what can a girl do. I do make the conscientious goal to not let the rain prevent my outcome for the day, like getting my bum to yoga. Did I win – ABSOLUTELY 🙂
So … after a little organizing and straightening up … a Nespresso shot … and grapefruit for breakfast, I high-tailed it to yoga and didn’t look back. Do rain drops sneaking into the back of my rain coat as I make my mad dash from the car to the entrance silently tick me off … yes. But, I namaste myself back to a calm mind and spend a good 75 minutes praising myself for showing up and getting to check the box next to my To Do list today … Yoga – Check!
It’s mid-day now and what do my eyes see – the SUN! Immediately I feel like a kid again because I’m giddy. Immediately I have a natural boost of energy – not need for caffeine this afternoon. I open the windows to my home office and just close my eyes for a few minutes and let the sound of gentle flow from the pool convince me it’s spring. And, seriously, why not because in Houston it may be early January but the temperature today is in the low 70’s. And, even my landscape is playing tricks on me with the outer edges of the boxwood sprouting effervescent green leaves.
If I were my husband, I would have already done 3 miles of swimming … 50 miles of biking … and perhaps 13 miles of running … just in the morning, alone. I guess my point is, for him, doing multiple activities in one day is normal. For me, getting one activity in is an achievement. But, today, I decide, is going to be different the moment I received the text inviting me to meet the kiddos and Guit at the school park, walking distance from our house. Why not, I say. I grab the phone, the helmet, and the bike … and off I went, like a kid again, to roam the paved sidewalks to kill some hours in the sun.
as if I were the shadow to their bikes
With everyone ready to go, we all four set out to conquer the neighborhood roads … as if we had never ridden on them before. In fact, to my surprise, we actually discovered a small park nestled in one part of the neighborhood I did not even know about. Max, as always, found every opportunity to convince himself his sister was trying to race him. (And, this is when my inner monolog kept telling me he’s just like his dad!) Every once in a while, Amelie would get enraged by Max peeking up too close to her and scaring her from behind … which typically resulted in her doing a fast brake, skidding the street with black, tire marks. A part of her tried to play it off like she meant to do that, like it was “so cool” … but, me being the last rider of the group – I saw all of the truth of the shenanigans … as if I were the shadow to their bikes.
I wasn’t in a rush, and luckily the kiddos didn’t try convincing me the other was causing havoc – perhaps they were too clever to think I’d fall for it knowing I was seeing it all godown.
We decided to venture off to the south side of the neighborhood, which is less suburban-esque, adorning large plots with beautiful 60-year-old trees sprinkled around the houses. This part of neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks, but the streets are wider. Each house has its own personality – no cookie-cutter planned division here. It’s quite tranquil in this neighborhood … neighbors walking at leisurely strolls with dogs on leashes and baby strollers in hand. Every once in a while you’ll find a group of children playing in a front yard – getting muddy, or giggling thru a huddle … you’re left to believe they’re conspiring on a big prank!
Welcome to the how the mind of a mother works!
The pace of my bike ride is simple, not fast. Yes, the kids are still swarming like bees around Guit … one after another trying to race the other to some unannounced marker. My motherly instincts want to take over and ask them to stop … especially when seeing Amelie wobble her way thru stopping her bike – I’m not sure why using her handlebar brakes is uncomfortable for her … so, I kid you not, she’s preferring to use her feet as brakes; oh, and did I mention she’s doing this in brand new shoes? Welcome to the how the mind of a mother works!
As we make our turns I realize they’re a distance away … I don’t mind … and they’re heading the direction towards home. It seems Guit has everything handled, so I put no pressure to catch up. I, instead, take my time … wave to a sweet old lady manicuring her garden in the front … and breath a little deeper. The sun feels SO good on my face – it is one thing I feel I’ll never have enough of.
I make my way back to the house and just park my bike and sit outside in the front yard. Guit is giving me an odd look, like: Why aren’t you putting your bike away? I just nudge and say, “I’m just going to enjoy a few more minutes of the weather” – he leaves.
And, here I am … on a date with the sun in my front yard. Like a child again, I just lay down. I melt any concern I had about what people will think when they see me. Screw it – this is my time to play. The sky has turned to a blue that is hard to imagine replicating … it tangos between vibrant and deep-earth. I look to my left … up … to my right … and just admire the hints of other colors coming from the landscaping that I know shouldn’t be teasing us until Spring. But, I’m happy nonetheless.
As I stare off into the sky I put my feet up and just imagine what it would be like if a balloon were attached to the tips of my feet and slowly lifted me into the sky … high above everything … and I imagine what I would see. How far would I go? Would anyone see me? Would I make a debut in the next UP movie?!?! And just like in the UP movie, something distracts me, like “Squirrel”, and I’m back to earth … realizing I probably should go back into the house. They always say you should never have too much of a good thing. For me, I had just the right amount of escape today … riding my bike on a Winter’s day and giving my mind a time to be a kid again.