Footsore But Happy

Oh what a good day it’s been. It started out a bit rockily, with a poor mood for me and the mad scramble to get out the door to the DMV in the pouring rain. Things slid a bit further downhill when I agreed with a friend, to cancel our plans for the day due to the rain. The hour in between that phone call and when things got better, wasn’t too pretty either, Vic was wearing on my very last nerve, whining for permission to watch TV until I snapped at him.

However, during that time, the clouds had been slowly rolling back, permitting glimpses of the sun every now and then. Just as I thought I was going to tear my hair out if Vic begged for Power Rangers one more time, the sun suddenly burst out from behind the clouds and golden sunlight slanted through the blinds, bathing the formerly gloomy room with warmth. I peeked through the blinds and saw blue sky, opened the door and felt the brisk breeze that was chasing the clouds rapidly across the sky and made a snap decision: we were going Out.

Not just down to the nearest park or up the street to the Walgreens, we were going Out to Town to end the cabin fever-like atmosphere that’s been reigning due to the rain and illness. I reconfigured the stroller to be a dual-seater instead of a seat and a pram, buckled Julien into the back and Vic into the front, stuffed all the gear you could possibly need for a preschooler and an infant into the cargo area, grabbed my purse and umbrella and a jacket and marched the whole kit and caboodle out the door.

A savvy person would probably have just gone down to the BART station, ridden the one stop down to Walnut Creek and then taken the free bus to the shopping district. I’m not always savvy and I’m often sentimental and today, I let sentiment win. I stood on the corner where I could go either way, via BART or on the bike trail, looking at the blue sky framed by the bare branches of the trees and wondering to myself if it was going to rain again. Would I be an utter fool to risk it and take the trail, walk the three miles into town and back? I looked back across the highway over the distant shoulders of the hills that bar the way to the Bay. A haze hung there, but no large banks of ominous clouds. I swiveled the stroller around to the west and marched into the golden light, half-blind. We were taking the trail.

Hours later, on the walk back home in the gathering dark with a blister forming under the pad of my right foot, I kicked myself mentally a few times for deciding to walk both ways without wearing socks. However, in between was one of the best afternoons with my kids that I’ve had in a while.

First there was the walk down the trail with impossibly blue skies up above and the scent of wet earth rising up from the sodden leaves that scattered across the pavement. Vic chattered away in the stroller while Julien watched everything going by with bright eyes to match the sky until sleep finally overcame him. I talked to Vic while we walked and we actually had a conversation going after a while, something that I’ve despaired would ever happen these last few months.

Then there was the poking about in shops downtown, finding some late holiday gifts for friends and getting new shoes for Victor, who is growing so fast, that new stuff doesn’t fit him within 3 months’ time. Vic behaved beautifully through the whole trip, not a meltdown in sight, though I did have to do some negotiation in the shoe store to get him to pick out a pair of shoes. We stopped for ice cream at a new gelato place tucked in between Eddie Bauer and Smith & Hawken and I was delighted to find that they have a Scharffen Berger flavor, which is basically a Scharffen Berger semi-sweet bar turned into ice cream. Oh heaven. Vic enjoyed some pannacotta gelato, but utterly ignored the scoop of banana in his cup, much to my consternation. He eats at least three bananas a day, so why he turned his nose up at banana gelato is beyond my comprehension.

The end point of the day, was an hour spent at Civic Park, just before the stars began to twinkle in the twlight sky. Vic got a little wet from playing with the sandtable which has a water faucet, but he had so much fun making mudpies with some other kids and driving the train, that it was well worth it. He didn’t really want to leave at the end and ran around like a maniac to get in a turn down each of the slides on the climbing structures, before consenting to sit back down in the stroller for the long walk home.

All the fresh air and outdoor activity put him to sleep a mile from the house, joining his brother who pretty much nursed and napped through the entire outing except for a brief spate of wakefulness in the shoe store.

I’m tired and a little cold and my feet are a little sore, but I’m wrapped up in a big fuzzy blanket and the bliss of a day well-spent.