Friday, September 5, 2008

I Do B'lieve She Got the Wanderlust Gene

Yesterday's weather of drizzle and cooler temperatures translated to a pajama day at FriedOkra Manor. Y'all have pajama days? Bean loved it for half the day but long about mid-afternoon, as I'd predicted in my head, the Mama, where are we gonna GO todays started up.

Nowhere, I'd respond.

But I wanna GO somewhere!

We stayed in anyway, snuggled up, the three of us, in the big old leather chair in our family room, my babies and me, under blankets, the smell of them and the feel of their soft, warm skin reminding me to just stop. Stop and pay attention and drink in such a day and these children of mine.

To me, it seems a strange lesson to have to be taught. You'd think a simple thing like soaking up the joy, wonder and peace of a quiet afternoon at home with her two little ones'd be as natural to a mother as breathing, but for me, it never has been. I'm guilty of wasting such moments thinking of things that need to be done, or want to be done.

And I think about my life before I became a Mama (though I spent those years yearning for the family I now have). I remember the independence and its accompanying invitation to be spontaneous, the complete focus on ME, the relative glamor, and mostly, oh yes, most of all - the travel.

I miss the excitement of experiencing new places, my battered old rolling suitcase kachunk-kachunk-kachunking along behind me, my eyes and the lens of my camera full of surprising and breathtaking sights, my mind inspired and exhilarated, curiously writing a story about what my life would be like if I lived there. The ordinary in a place I've never been becomes extraordinary in the simple freedom to imagine, not know. I picture myself riding unfamiliar subways among dark-haired strangers with mysterious eyes, or drinking strong, dark espresso from tiny cups at a big-city outdoor cafe, listening in on lively conversations tossed about in a language I can't understand, or even hanging up a colorful load of the day's wash on a rustic clothes line in the first rays of a crystalline foreign sun as it breaks over the rooftops of a village seemingly carved out of ages-old rugged stone.

This morning we awoke to more grey, chilly weather. Bean trooped into my room at dawn, climbed into my bed and curled up under the covers to drink her hot cocoa and watch PBSKids as I nursed Mr. Peabody beside her. An ad came on TV about a carnival of sorts at a grocery store downtown, and Bean quickly began asking to go play there today.

I don't know, that store's pretty far away, babe.

REALLY? Then I guess we will have to fly on an AIRPLANE to get there! Can we, Mama? Please? Let's go somewhere far away!

I hope we do get to go to faraway places together someday, Bean. You seem more pragmatic than I am, so maybe you'll spend fewer hours of your travel-time ensconced in fantasy than your mother does. Maybe you'll go places with higher purposes than just fueling your imagination and meeting your need to escape your own (hopefully rich and wonderful, like mine) life for a few days. For whatever reason you go, I hope I get to go with you on occasion. I know seeing the world's going to be amazingly rewarding for you and make you incredibly happy.

And I want to witness that, my sweet girl. I want to see your face aglow with the unmistakable joy of discovering what else is out there, in this big old fascinating world.

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  1. My Laura was like that when she was Bean's age - she wanted to go somewhere every day. The funny thing is that now that she's an old married women - she's the biggest homebody of my three. You never know!
    I'm glad you are soaking n these days and enjoying them - they are gone too soon.

  2. Jaya has this too. "What we doing today?" is the first thing she asks every morning!

    Jove would be quite happy to just cuddle all day long, maybe your boy will be like that too. :)

  3. It is so bittersweet... when I had freedom I longed for family and now that I have my four kids I dream about San Francisco and living completely alone!!

    My kids are amazing and the grass is definitely greener on this side... I too love to watch my kids experience... Hope Bean has many happy travels!

  4. great post. I just wish I had the nerve it takes to travel. I WANT too, but the hassle of it all....sends me into a nervous anxiety attack.

  5. It is amazing to see your kids discover a new place. We took our kids (8 and 11) to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this summer. They constantly asked questions about things I would have never even noticed, and I saw Mexico from a different perspective - through the lens of a child.

  6. I wish I enjoyed traveling more than I do. I'm such a home body which is probably why I am tortured by having to travel by airplane and car on a regular basis just to visit family.

    I'd love a nice cool day with hot cocoa and family under the blanket while watching Martha Speaks (Princess's new favorite show). That sounds so relaxing.

  7. We get that refrain in our house a lot too.

    "What are we doing today? Where are we going?"

    Only it's usually coming from me. :-)

  8. My kids LOVE travelling, too - although my husband and I hate, hate, hate travelling with small kids...