The sweetest thing happened to me last Thursday morning.
After I dropped the kids off at pre-school, I began the 2.5 hour race wherein I try to get as many things done as humanly possible in that small kid-free window of time. Last fall I spent the time unpacking, cleaning, and/or going to appointments pertaining to relocation — car registrations, new license plates, banks, insurance, doctor, dentist, etc., etc. Blah, blah, blah.
Lately, I have been spending the time running, writing, and on personal care (i.e. long showers where I shave my legs and then take time to brush and floss my teeth). Basically I am taking care of myself and indulging in the simple pleasures that were nonexistent or completely rushed when my kids were newborns and then again after we moved.
Well last Thursday after doing some of the aforementioned, I had to mail a package at the post office. The post office is next to the pre-school, so I went there with plenty of time before pick-up in case there was a long line. When I walked in I couldn’t believe it though — there was no wait. You might imagine my pleasant surprise!
Upon leaving I realized I had an extra, and unscheduled, 25 minutes of free time. Twenty-five minutes with NOTHING TO DO. Of course, there is always a million things to do, but here I was with some leeway before my next obligation. The sun was shining and the weather was gorgeous, so at random I started walking downtown with no destination in mind. I strolled. I meandered. I looked around. I daydreamed. I lallygagged. Then I suddenly found myself sitting in an Austrian Bistro at a table near the open storefront window with an apple strudel and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. It’s amazing the new places your feet will take you when you have no purpose!
So there I was enjoying a nice mid-morning snack as I people-watched and got lost in my own thoughts… and the homemade whipped cream that donned the strudel, which by the way had pine nuts in it. Nice touch.
I purposely enjoyed this quiet time and delicious snack that I ate uninterrupted. I mean, I did not even have to hide in the hallway and shovel it in my face because I didn’t want to share it with my kids. I sat in full view of the world around me and peacefully licked my fork clean after every bite.
At one point I glanced at my watch so as not to get too caught up in my fantasies that I would be late picking up the kids. Plenty of time. When I looked back up, lo and behold, my son’s pre-school class was across the street. They were coming back from the duck pond on campus and about to cross near where I was sitting. I was far enough away to go unnoticed by him and his peers and teachers, but close enough to see his every move and watch him under the radar. MADE MY DAY.
First of all, just being at this bistro by myself unplanned was an anomaly in itself, but then unexpectedly seeing my son took me by complete surprise. I knew they were going to the duck pond that day, but I wasn’t exactly sure where it was, so it wasn’t like I was sitting there hoping to spy on him. It just sort of happened.
He looked all cute and serious and on his best behavior as he held his park partners hand while crossing the street with one teacher in the front of the line and one teacher in the back of the line. My heart SWELLED (an all-caps swelled) with love and put me in a happy state of motherhood. There is something about seeing your child undetected that gives you a sense of intense love because you can see how grown up they are and how well they do in life and how happy they look as they take part in something of their very own in your absence. I know he was simply walking in line with his classmates, following directions, no big deal, but it was a complete sweet spot in my day. I think the apple strudel might have had something to do with it, but seriously, it was a nice quiet moment of motherhood that made me so thankful I am a mom.
I thought about getting out my phone and snapping a picture, but I didn’t. I just sat and smiled and enjoyed the moment. Then I thought about the moments ahead as he gets older and when he will be less and less under my wing (waah!). Then I tried to think about how nice it will be to watch him gain even more independence (just so long as he knows he will always need his mommy). Then I thought about how unbelievably good my apple strudel tasted.
Yesterday was his last day in the 3’s classroom. He’ll move up to the 4’s next fall. My how fast time goes when you don’t sit down to have a piece of apple strudel every once in a while. Boy I sure am getting a lot of mileage out of that apple strudel! I am beginning to think they put more in it than just apples and pine nuts.
On Sunday we went to the church associated with the pre-school because they recognized the school, families, and teachers. Afterward, and again on a whim, the four of us went for a walk downtown. No destination. No intentions. Just some quiet time together. It was another sunny and beautiful day and we took some time to stroll, meander, look around, daydream, and lallygag. (Are you sensing a theme in my new mentality on life?!).
When we passed by the bistro (closed on Sunday’s, darn!) I told my son that I was sitting there having coffee (mum’s the word on the strudel) when I saw him and his class cross the street on their way back from the duck pond. He thought that was pretty neat, although he did wonder why I didn’t say hi. Ha! Of course talk of the duck pond made him want to go there again. My husband and I had no idea where the duck pond was exactly, but my son was confidant he could lead us there. And he did. Amazing what these kids are capable of. Lately, I am beginning to think his abilities deserve more credit. His navigational skills impressed me as he led us through campus. That pre-school thing sure is working.
More quiet moments of motherhood and spending time with my family as we explored the pond and watched ducks and goslings and spied turtles and fish. This time I snapped a few pictures along the way.
When we got home I felt content. This week has been good so far, too. Maybe next week we’ll all go to the bistro together. I may even tell them about the strudel… or heck, even share mine. But only maybe. It’s become a little sacred.
Amen to apple strudel.
Amen to quiet moments of motherhood.
Truly, it is a sweet combination.
I urge you to find your own “apple strudel” this week as you appreciate all the wonderful things, big or small, about being a mom.