Putting Life On Pause.

At home, there are dishes in need of washing, clothes in need of folding and messes in need of picking up. There are blog posts to write and emails to return. But, as I drive to pick Tori up from daycare, I decide I don’t care.

The day, warm again after a cold snap, feels like a gift. The sun is sparkling in the trees, winking through their still green leaves. “Come play,” the wind whispers. “The park is waiting.”

I set Tori free from the buckles of her car seat and she clambers down, grinning her crinkle-face smile. Then she’s off, racing toward the playground.

“Yaaaaaay, I play with the big kids now!”

I follow slowly after her, heart clutching as I watch her silly, mock-drunken run.

“Mommy, come play!” she calls, waiting for me at the bottom of the slide. I jog over and together we clunk up the green metal stairs, climbing to the top.

“Do you want to go down together?”

“Uh huh!”

So I sit down and snuggle her on my lap before pushing off into the bright yellow spiral.

“Wheeeeee!” we say together, spinning through artificial sunshine until my feet land in the tired gray mulch.

Instantly, she’s off and running. “Mommy, swing!” she commands. Obligingly I follow her and lift her into the blue bucket.

“Higher!”

I push her as high as that little swing will go, so high that it wobbles like a Weeble as it travels back and forth.

She throws her head back and stares at the clouds through the trees.

“Mommy?”

“Yeah, hon?”

“I flyyyyyyyying!”

“You certainly are!”

“I love the sky. And the trees, blue bucket swing. I a big kid now. Big kid, right mommy?”

A lump lodges in my throat. “You certainly are.”

“Mommy?”

“What sweetie?”

“I love the park. I love the dinosaur slide. And mommy?”

“Yeah?”

“I looooooveee you. I love you the most!”

“I love you too,” I smile back.

“Can we go to the ocean now? I done swinging.”

Stopping the swing, I lift her sun-warm body and surreptitiously smell her apple-scented hair.

“No ocean today, hon. But how about we take a walk down the trail?”

“The trail go to the beach?”

“No, but it’s still fun.”

Her forehead wrinkles. “No. It go to the beach,” she says, very seriously. “I go now.”

And she’s off, running for the horizon.

I follow after her,  the sounds of chirping crickets and the crunching leaves keeping time with the song in my heart. My phone rings, but without looking at the number, I silence it.

Tori starts the long walk to the ocean

The ocean awaits.

I’m going to the ocean with my daughter. Everything else can wait.

I’m linking up with Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write Tuesday. A carnival that urges you to…Just Write. Try it. It’s fun.

11 Comments on Putting Life On Pause.

  1. critters and crayons
    September 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm (4 years ago)

    So glad you could isolate the moment and just be in it. Those are the best days.

    Reply
    • Amber
      September 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm (4 years ago)

      They are. Especially when they follow a weekend like the one we just had!

      Reply
  2. Rebecca
    September 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm (4 years ago)

    If you live close to the ocean, I want photos along with a ‘going to the ocean with a kid’ tutorial. I’ll be taking my kids soon and I’m confused and lost and have no idea what I’m going to do. AND, I don’t want to mess it up because it’s our one chance to go (in a very long time). We are over 12 hours from the nearest beach…..so ya know…..we wanna do it right.

    Reply
    • Amber
      September 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm (4 years ago)

      I live 12 hours from the nearest ocean too. We went there in the spring, and now, every day she tells me she wants to go back. Don’t stress. It’ll be fun – they’ll remember it forever!

      Reply
  3. Jen
    September 21, 2011 at 7:55 am (4 years ago)

    This is just to best moment.

    Reply
    • Amber
      September 21, 2011 at 8:29 am (4 years ago)

      Yeah, I chose to write about that instead of the incredible streak of tantrums we’re having…I figured she’d rather remember that when she’s 20.

      Reply
  4. erica
    September 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Adorable. The other day, B said, “I go to the beach!”
    And we did.

    Reply
  5. Middle State/MomZombie
    September 22, 2011 at 8:49 am (4 years ago)

    Two things strike after reading this post:
    1. Already I miss those moments. (My youngest started full-time kindergarten this month.)
    2. I knew that when I was within a moment like that that it was fleeting. I knew it was important to remember the details and savor them even if I really would rather be doing something else, I was tired, etc.
    More amazing moments await.

    Reply
  6. Lady Jennie
    September 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm (4 years ago)

    Pretty! You made the right choice.

    On another note I wish we had more parks here. Such a great place to take kids – they have fun and moms can chill.

    Reply
  7. Tomekha
    October 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm (4 years ago)

    Awwww :) #tooadorable :) It’s those small moments in life that make everything worth it :)

    Reply
    • Amber
      October 6, 2011 at 8:39 am (4 years ago)

      You’ve got that right. :)

      Reply

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