The other night, after dinner, I escaped to the Y (which is, thankfully, right down the street) for a quick 30-minute workout while Andy had his own 30-minute workout playing tickle monster with the kids. This arrangement has worked out perfectly for us. I’m able to exercise regularly and I’m also able to get out of the house, alone. Andy enjoys being able to spend time with the kids. The kids get a break from me. I’m happier. Andy’s happier (mostly, because I’m happier). The kids are happier. It’s win-win-win.
After this particular workout, however, I just wasn’t ready to go back home. I needed just a little more time—I craved just a little more time. So I called Andy claiming we absolutely needed some things from Target. And we did. But we didn’t absolutely.
I chose a cart instead of a basket. In it, I put paper towels. Dye for my hair. Shaving cream. Shin guards and elbow pads for Sophie. Face wash. A new collar for Tucker. Etc.
I wandered. And lingered. Ran into friends and talked to them. Put things in my cart and then took them back out. Debated over thank-you card designs. Checked the children’s clearance racks. Walked slowly.
Eventually, I went back to our car, having spent more than I intended—both in money and time. It was 8:30pm. The kids go to bed at 8pm.
I drove home with that mish-mash feeling of guilt and calmness, which I imagine most moms feel at some time, when they choose to do something unnecessary or unproductive away from home, just to be away from home, while also feeling and wanting to be at home. It’s a difficult thing to describe.
And then, I drove past Woodfill Elementary, where Sophie will eventually go. I passed its new electronic sign and read, in bright, bright blue, “Father-Daughter Dance Feb 11.”
I pulled into the driveway not remembering the road I had just traveled. Instead, my thoughts were with future Sophie and future Andy. She in pink, I suspected, with lots of tulle making her skirt puffy. He in a tie she, no doubt, insisted on picking out. Her small Mary Janes on top of his dress shoes. Twirling. Lots of twirling. Balloons, perhaps? Streamers? She would like that. And hopefully, lots of pictures (I would insist). I thought about how we were just dancing with her infant self to “Build Me Up Buttercup” in our old living room and now here we are, me able to vividly imagine this dance that will be hers—and his—in only a few short years.
I felt a bit foolish for my Target wandering, even if it did calm me. At the same time I know there will be many more bedtime routines to come—some days it will feel like too many, other days, not enough. But more than anything, that brightly lit sign just made me so excited for what’s to come. It was yet another thing from my childhood that I had forgotten about, yet loved. And it’s coming. For her. For him. For all of us.
“And in today already walks tomorrow.” —Samuel Taylor Coleridge