I remember thinking that we would wear the wheels right off that stroller. After having my first daughter I felt isolated and alone. I felt like the only mom with a little one, I missed having a social life. I think transitioning to having a child was the hardest… thankfully my Madeline was always around for an adventure. We walked, then we rested and walked again. I swear walking with her was freedom and an adventure. On those walks I learned where the kind old people lived, where the big dogs were and where the playgrounds were.
I remember trying to challenge myself to find ways to pull my walk into my life ‘chores’. We started to walk to the dry cleaners (a few miles away) and bank. I would pack my little weiner dog and she would conveniently hop in the basket under the stroller and sleep. I remember packing snacks and lunch and lots of water… and just wandering. It was like we headed out for little adventures together right from the start.
There are so many little memories and big ones. Madeline enjoyed her first push in a swing on my birthday when she was 10 months old. I remember it was a really nice spring day, the kind you MUST go for a walk and soak in the sun and warm for the next ‘maybe snow’ day. We went for a walk and I felt really different not having my birthday around people. I woke up to just me and Madeline, Regis and Kelly, coffee and no big deals. It was hard. I felt jealous for those people who had ‘real’ jobs and people to hang out with during the day. I was lonely, but I had these chunky cheeks to hang with… so we walked. When we got to the park I wiped the seat of the swing and put a blanket to wrap Madeline to sit up well. I gave her a push and it was love at first push. It is a perfect and hard memory.
Sometimes it is hard to look back and see and know a memory was real and imperfect, with a yelling mom or thoughts of running away. I know though that these memories are real and honest, and as much as I LOVE my girls we have many hard moments. I don’t even regret those with Madeline or Meme and Lucy. Those are all part of it.
After Amelia was born we bought the.best.double.stroller.ever. It was like heaven on those walks. It was smooth and turned on a… quarter. It was an adventure just waking up and living back then, there were less walks (more poops, naps and tantrums)- but more moments. I loved it and it was wicked hard. Amelia added a new playground challenge… soon it was pushing two and leaving one while I chased the other. Then Lucy joined the pack, and I had the cutest freakin’ baby in a triple ever. She enjoyed A LOT of goldfish while Mads and Meme played and I chased… eventually she was big enough to be in a swing and loved it.
I went for a walk the other morning, after the girls got on the bus. I started thinking I wanted to run… but I swapped to mellow music and decided to walk the old walk. I never really do it anymore. I power walked, part of the way with headphones and part trying to hear those noises from long ago. I walked but the playground and saw the swings. I had to go in there. It has changed. There is a housing development behind, no more woods. The children I would have seen playing are now grown and school. Some of the old people we loved to chat with are not here anymore. I sat in the swing and just listened. I let myself remember watching the girls and swinging or chasing. I let myself go back to the picnics and snacks we shared. It was a hard and simple walk, I love remembering but there are parts that hurt.
I kept looking around and seeing how life keeps moving. It is so hard to know this. It is hard to know that life CAN move without your child. We lived and lived, never thinking life would change like it has. Life changed. Madeline is not here. Our family is all messy. Life keeps moving. It used to hurt and hurt more to know that life moves on… but it’s starting to not hurt so much. I know that life has to move on, it has to keep rolling. The world spins even when it is lacking some amazing people. This is a fact though it has taken a long time for my brain to see and understand it.
All this from so many walks… those little adventures from long ago tying into right now. This crazy life of church school, viola, homework, studying, baseball and normal… no more walks. Sometimes God uses those memories to help build you… to help remind you.