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.