Noelle has an impeccable memory. Actually I'm not certain that it's extraordinary for a three year old to remember things that happened when she was one, but to me it's remarkable. Out of the blue she'll surprise me with, "Mom, remember when...". She often talks about the giraffe that licked her hand at the zoo (when she was 1), when mommy and daddy were Ken and Barbie for Vacation Bible Adventure (just before she turned 2), and meeting Elmo and Abby at Sea World (age 2).
It's delightful when she shares her perspective of these memories. I want her childhood to be filled with noteworthy moments. And lately I haven't done my best at making the most out of the weekdays. Our schedule has become mundane: schoolwork, chores, grocery shopping, park, naps, and if we want to go crazy we'll throw bubble blowing and sidewalk chalk in there. I can do better.
After breakfast this morning, instead of our usually routine, I packed snacks and we ventured out. The destination was a park Noelle and I went to when I was pregnant with Noah. It took a while to find it again but when we arrived, I saw her perk up in the rear view mirror and announce, "I remember this place!" Of course she did.
But the last time we visited this park, she was terrified of the skyscraping slides. Today, she fearlessly charged them.
Time sure did pick up once we had kids. I wonder why that is. Perhaps it's because I'm no longer responsible for just myself. Now I have two little humans who rely on me for almost everything. There is rarely down time or spontaneity. For me, at least. For the kids everything is spontaneous. At the top of the slide Noelle spotted a bridge and was soon running towards it.
Noah watched his sister skip on the bridge and after grasping my hand, he stepped out to follow her.
A few sturdy steps later, he shook his hand free from mine and off he went.
There was much to explore at the park.
And brother was never far behind.
A reason for choosing this park today was to see the ducks that occupy a little nearby pond. I stuffed a few slices of bread in the snack bag to feed them with.
Noelle remembered feeding the ducks at the zoo but she forgot to throw the bread. Before I could get to her a feisty duck swooped in and snatched a piece right out of her hand. I waited to see how she would react before I examined her fingers and thankfully she laughed it off.
This little guy was patient.
Noah loved the ducks...a little too much. He chased the poor things until they found refuge in the pond.
After the park I did something I would usually not dare to do alone...take the kids out to eat. It was only Panera Bread (a casual dining restaurant), but it was noon and nearly nap time. Noelle politely asked me for yogurt and mac n cheese and I didn't have the heart to turn her down today.
We were surrounded by business people, I was the only one with kids there, but I'm glad we went. Although I could do without the real estate agent who apparently soaks his clothes in cologne. The smell was literally burning my nose. I could hardly taste my baked potato soup.
My weather app showed rain today but there wasn't a grey cloud in the sky. I think summer decided to sneak in and show us some love. Thanks, summer. We're looking forward to your sunshine. In fact, Noelle insisted she take advantage of the warm weather and go swimming. I dropped her off with Mr. G at his pool (he coaches swimming and water polo) and she thoroughly enjoyed her first swim lesson of the year.
After dinner we took a walk around our neighborhood, talking, laughing, and praying, until darkness settled around us.
I know that it isn't possible to make every day exceptional, but I can work at making it less ordinary. I learned today that it's easy to break out of a dreary routine and it doesn't take much to make "remember when" moments.