On Wednesday, I had two hours of freedom that soaked in so deeply, they might as well have been ten. My hair was windblown, my nose sun-kissed, my soul rejuvenated and restored.
Late afternoon every Wednesday, our daughter goes to play with our friends who speak to her only in Spanish. During that time, I usually go to a yoga class, but this week my shoulder was really bothering me. It was a breezy, warm, gorgeous spring day so instead, I decided to dust of my cruiser bike and take her for a whirl.
It always strikes me how long it takes me to adjust to being alone, to having "freedom" time now that I'm a mother. I'm with our daughter so much that it's become the norm to rarely ever be alone. But the more I do it, the easier it becomes to jump out of my mother skin for a little while and remind myself of who I am outside of being a mother - I'm Christine, lover of outdoors and bike rides and journaling and reading and quietness.
After dropping her off, I rode my bike to the nearby meadow, the perfect place to have a few minutes to myself.
Not another soul was there.
I walked my bike over to the park bench under the shade trees and unloaded books and journals from my bike basket. I bit into a green apple I'd brought along as a snack. And I sat. And listened.
I read some lines in an old journal and added to my list of "1000 Gifts."
But mostly I just stopped for awhile and took time to connect with myself again.
~ ~ ~
Soon afterwards, my husband was done with work so I rode back to our house and traded in my bike for his scooter. With our helmets and sunglasses on, I held on loosely to his waist and we scooted a mile down the street to the Bishop Arts District for a mini-date to enjoy fresh, crunchy salads at Eno's. The only seats available outside were two adirondack chairs by the street. Perfect. As we munched on such a fresh, healthy meal, I realized my bangs were caked to my face and I smelled like sweat, but I couldn't stop smiling.
All of this happened in just two hours total. But it made all the difference in the world to reconnect with myself and the things I love.
Yes, I'm a wife. Yes, I'm a mother. But mostly, I'm Christine. And I can never lose that.