When the girls came home from the hospital in mid-January '09, our pediatrician was very clear that we weren’t to take them out of the house until they were three months old. Outside of trips to see him, he said we should avoid all outside contact.
When we were in for our two-month checkup, in early March, he said that it would be OK to take them on a walk in the neighborhood – as long as it wasn’t too windy, and temperatures were in the ‘70’s (and we promised to steer clear of any touchy-feely neighbors).
I became near-obsessed with the weather forecast, praying for some unseasonably warm weather to come our way. Mid-March, I got my wish.
The girls went down for a nap around 2:30 or so, and I loaded them into their carriers, and then into their strollers and waited anxiously for Hubby to get home from school to join me in our maiden voyage around the block. I remember the pure jubilation I felt at having the babies out in the fresh air and sunshine.
After a few walks with Daddy, Mommy finally got brave enough to get the girls out by herself. I remember how cumbersome it was…loading the girls in their carriers upstairs, carrying them down one by one…parking the stroller just outside the front door…stepping into the foyer to load them one at a time.
Still, it was such a freeing feeling to be out…on a walk…with my girls…by myself. I just remember soaking up the fresh air and sunshine, so proud to wave to neighbors and passing cars (from afar). And the icing on the cake was if I could time our walks just right…we might just run into Daddy pulling into the neighborhood on his way home from work.
Since those first few walks in the neighborhood, I know the girls and I have logged thousands of miles in the past three years. Walking is a pretty big part of our weekly schedule. Of course the first years, the girls were in their stroller. And over the past year we’ve gradually shifted the balance to more and more walking “hand in hand”, as we say, and fewer stroller rides. Whatever the mode, time outside does wonders for our bodies and souls.
Our daily schedule has varied greatly, too, of course. After our mid-afternoon walks in Spring '09, post-supper strolls were the norm during the girls’ first summer. I know when the girls transitioned to one nap, at about 18 months, we began walking mostly in the mornings.
We’ve had a really mild winter and a warm spring, and these days the girls and I are often out – in some form or fashion – twice a day. If we have an errand to run in the mornings, we usually make time for at least a short walk when we get home. And, weather permitting, we often go for a longer walk in the afternoons, followed by play in the yard.
I had a sense of déjà vu yesterday, as the girls and I were out for a mid-afternoon stroll, hand in hand. It was about 3:30, and I was thinking we just might run into Daddy on his way home from work.
Three years ago to the day – or very close to it – I was strolling the exact same sidewalks, my eyes peeled for Daddy’s car.
So much has changed, of course…the girls could probably push me in the stroller, and we’re engaged in a very active two-way conversation, instead of me extolling the virtues of blue skies and butterflies while the girls slept.
But some things are beautifully…wonderfully…magically…the same.