Freedom afternoon.

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.