It was amazing. It's a feeling that has been lost to me for too long. And it's been lost to my family.
Depression led to exhaustion, which led to little or no physical activity beyond what was actually required each day. My kids would call to me to catch them in the back yard or across the school yard. They'd ask to race to the van afterschool. I would run a few feet smiling and laughing with them. They loved how I always let them win.
It wasn't a choice. My body resisted every step of the way. If I did manage to get going, I could be completely winded by less than 1/2 a block. Running late to pick them up at school was painful. Parking is never good there unless you arrive early. Being late means you are parking a long way from the door. Being late means you better run if you are going to be there when the classroom door opens. Even harder if I've got Angel Baby with me, then I've got to carry her because her little legs don't go that fast.
Encouraging independence in my boys, I would wait outside and watch for them instead. They could show how grown and responsible they are by remembering all their things. Good life skills, right? Everyone needs to learn how to organize themselves.
But I hated it. I thrive on being there. There is a small moment of happiness, love and surprise in my kids when I'm standing by the classroom door. They are fresh, I can see exactly how the school day made them feel. If I wait outside, those thoughts fresh in their minds have faded after conversation and play with their friends on the way out. I miss out.
It's like when the trucker gets home from work. 15 years in now and I still love to be right by the door when he gets home. I like to welcome him. I get excited like a little girl, looking forward to the way the day changes when the whole family is home. It's a thrill that I miss if I'm busy in the kitchen. It's not expected and it's really not necessary, but it feels good.
Today, both boys wanted to come home for lunch. Art normally stays, but I allow exceptions to keep things fun. I was running a bit behind. The close parking spots were taken, so I squeezed in as close as I could. I hopped out and ran. Straight to the doors of the school. A speed walk down the halls to the other end of the school to meet Art (because we just don't run in schools, do we?) I made it to the closed door just as the lunch bell rang.
He was happy to see me there, happier that he didn't have to walk all the way home. He gave me his little mischievous grin and said "race you!" He slipped out the side door and across the playground towards the front of the school.
A few months ago, I wouldn't have even thought about it. I would have turned and walked back through the school to meet up with Macboy and walked slowly along to the van. We would have made it home in a decent time, no pressure.
But today, I smiled back at that goofy grin. Today, I jumped up and ran after him. We came around the corner of the school just as Macboy was coming out the other door. And seeing the smiles from both of us, he joined right in. We paused before crossing the street, then raced the rest of the way to the van.
We were seated in the van and laughing. They instantly shifted into telling me how the morning went and what's in store for the afternoon. I didn't spend the drive home trying to catch my breath. I wasn't winded. I was happy and giggling right along with them. I made them try to guess what I'd made for lunch. Macboy didn't even complain that Art was invading 'his space' as he normally does when Art comes home with him at lunch.
I am so grateful that I really started to see the sunshine again. I was in place so dark, truly believing that 'this is it'. That the hard painful realities of each and every day were just plain old truth. That it was good for them to learn responsibility and take care of themselves. It was certainly easier than acknowledging what I was missing.
Before, I ran from life. I hid from reality.
Today, I ran for fun. I ran for play.
And it paid off in so many ways.