We wake. I can hear the coffee pot finishing it's drip in the kitchen and I know today will be a good day...Italian Roast, sunshine and the river. The girls will go to school to finger paint and play with friends and it will be just me and The Boy, as he is doomed to be called being the only son.
The days beginning is typical- 'get dressed. Brush your teeth. Comb your hair, Hurry up.' My husband and I make lunches side by side at the island in our kitchen, passing the jar of peanut butter back and forth wordlessly. And then he's gone to work and I load children into the car and begin making the drops...'Bye, kiddo! Have a great day!' we wave and sign 'I love you' with our hands against the cold car window.
Noah and I both perk up a little when the last girl is dropped at school for the day. Now it is our time, our morning.
'Riverwalk!! Riverwalk!!' I hear from the backseat and we begin the winding journey through our small town and down the hill to the river. The coffee in my insulated cup will be warm for approximately 40 minutes more. We have this down to a science.
We scramble out of the car onto the paved footpath that wanders along the river side. This is when the day really dawns for us. Noah runs ahead of me. He thinks he's in a car race. I walk behind, taking long strides that I assume burn more calories and can justify the creamer in my coffee. But it isn't really about exercise this morning.
Noah slows and walks beside me. Reaching up to tuck one small hand in mine, he begins to tell me a story of how he and daddy used to build houses underneath the mud beside the river. He assures me that they had magic boots to keep them from sinking except when they wanted to. I agree with him on everything because I believe that's what a good mother does. He knows what's real, I don't have to tell him.
Our mile and half long ramble takes us across a beach and through a strand of shrubs. It opens up on the other side in the middle of a park. It is deserted here on this cold, clear morning and we pretend it belongs to us. We are explorers who have sneaked unnoticed into paradise. My coffee is cold now, but like all busy moms I think, It's still coffee, and I finish it.
Noah heads directly for the play set and I make a beeline for the sunny bench intending to sit and half sleep while he plays, but he wants none of it. 'Mama, do that trick you do!'
Oh, Lord, not the trick. Once, in a fit of madness, I did a flip on the bars to impress this small hero of my affection and now he insists I repeat it over and over during these visits. I can imagine how I look flying around a child's play set- but what can I do? He wants the trick.
He is still impressed and deems it 'cool'. We spend the morning in our stolen park and then start back. Our Kindergarten Girl will need to be picked up soon.
We make our way along the beach, through the shrubbery, up the boat dock and along the edge of the marina where the houseboats and sailboats sit huddled against the wind and whitecaps. Noah's cheeks are bright pink. He is smiling and beginning another story. I am half listening and half lost in thought- but I am aware enough to say 'wow' and 'no kidding?' in all the right places.
The mile and half back go quickly and soon we are bundled into the car and driving up the hill to the grade school where a line of 5 year olds wait to be picked up. It is 10:30 and my day begins again.