Posts Tagged ‘mom’

Meditating Mom

January 8, 2014

The sun is just starting to crest over the roofs of neighboring houses when I wake.  I roll out of bed and say, “Thank you Spirit,” as my feet touch the floor. My husband is sleeping peacefully and the house is quiet as I prepare my meditation mat, blankets and bolsters on the bed.

Facing the open windows and the rising sun, I settle comfortably on the bolster and fold my legs into an easy half lotus. I take a deep breath as I look at the changing colors of the brightening sky.

My focus changes to my breathing and I close my eyes. I feel my body ease into the joy of stillness. I can feel my heartbeat. My palms are resting one on the other, and I sense the energy exchange between them.

“Hrmphtschorph.”

I hear my husband make an interesting waking sound as I feel him stretching on the bed. He gets up, walks into the bathroom and immediately starts brushing his teeth. I ignore the sounds and focus on my breathing once again. I am immune to outward sounds.

Knock, knock.

That can’t be one of my sons. My older son has already left for high school and my younger son doesn’t have to get up for another 30minutes.

Knock, knock. “Mom?”

It is the younger son. What is he doing up at this early hour? I hear my husband turn on his electric razor and the rhythmic whir as he moves up and down on his jaw.

“Mom, are you sure today is an A day at school and I don’t need my trombone for band?”

I easily open my eyes and slowly turn my head toward him like the meditating goddess that I am. I speak with a peaceful calm, “Honey, bring me my cell phone from the kitchen counter.”

He leaves and I return to my focused breathing. I empty my mind. I ignore the sound of the shower running and the clanking of the ironing board being opened in the bathroom next door. I am peace. I am bliss. I am meditating.

Bang. My son returns, swinging the door open with a bit too much force, and it slams into the bookstand behind it. I slowly open my eyes, and mentally remind myself that I am a yoga goddess. I am above anger and frustration. I am The Meditating Mom.

I reach from beneath my blanket and take the cell phone from my son. I patiently tap on the screen until I find the email from his band instructor. Together we read the email regarding the appropriateness of leaving his trombone at home.

“Okay, thanks Mom,” he says, and walks from the room, gently closing the door.

I return to focused breathing, an empty mind, a peaceful spirit. I am so deep in meditation, I don’t realize my son has returned until he says…

“Why are you sitting there like that? Are you meditating?”

I look upon him with the peaceful grace of The Meditating Mom that I am. I nod slowly, with loving eyes. Then I notice his hair is not combed and he’s wearing one light jacket to go to the bus – which is not coming for another 45 minutes. My meditating mind wonders 3 things at once:

  1. Why hasn’t he combed his hair? Didn’t he look in the mirror?
  2. Atlanta is experiencing record low temperatures in a single digit. Is he planning to go the bus stop in that light jacket?
  3. Why in the world is this child standing here ready for school almost an hour before he’s supposed to be?

But I am The Meditating Mom. I will not attack this child with queries and frustrated commentary on the importance of looking in the mirror before you leave the house. Instead, I patiently say…

“Honey, do you know how cold it is outside?” He shrugs nonchalantly. Does this mean that he doesn’t know or that he does know and just doesn’t care? I try another tactic.

“Come here. Let’s look at the temperature.” I click on the screen of my smart phone until the screen changes to an icy blue and the number 14 shows up. “Honey, that’s the temperature. It’s too cold for that light jacket.” He sighs in frustration. He thinks I might be suggesting he wear a heavier, warmer coat. Uh, yes. I am.

Holding out hope that he’s not completely insane, I try another idea. “Open your jacket and let me see what you’re wearing underneath.”It’s possible he has on a long sleeved shirt. Or maybe an athletic Under Armor beneath a t-shirt. Something that indicates he understands that 14* is pretty d@#% cold. Oops. That’s not what a meditating yoga goddess would think.

I take a deep breath and let it out slowly as I see my child is wearing only a t-shirt from the summer. No sleeves. No Under Armor. No undershirt. Just a summer T.

I try one more time to be the blissfully peaceful, soft-spoken yoga mama I know I am. “Honey, you need to put on a long sleeved shirt.”

He emits another heavy sigh, as though I’m the one that’s crazy and suggesting something absolutely asinine. “Mom,” he says with emphasis. “Can I just wear another jacket over this one?”

I do an internal debate with myself. Two heavy jackets equal one big coat. I can end this discussion and get back to my meditation if I agree with this negotiation concession. “Yes.” He leaves, satisfied.

I close my eyes. I settle beneath my blanket. I breathe.

Sigh.

Is that my son sighing in my bedroom while I’m meditating? I open my eyes and turn my head to see him leaning on the door and looking out the window. In his own way, he’s meditating. That’s my baby.

But this Meditating Mom is done for today. I get up and leave him meditating on the rising sun.

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Silence

October 12, 2011

This morning I’m practicing silence. No talking, no singing, no radio or television. No social media or text (except to let my unanswered callers and “tweeps” know that I am practicing silence and will contact them this afternoon).

I didn’t plan this. I simply didn’t feel like talking or hearing any noise. I hesitate before waking my younger son for school. Will I be able to avoid speaking to the inquisitive young scientist? As I tap him awake and beckon for him to get up and go in the bathroom, he looks at me questioningly.

“Mom, why aren’t you talking?”

I just shrug and leave the room. He doesn’t ask me any more questions and continues getting ready without my usual prodding and reminders to “wash your hands”, “brush your teeth”, “wash your face”, “lotion your body”, “hurry up and stop playing.” You know, the usual comments I’ve been repeating to him every school day for the last four years.

I go into the study and write a note. I’m not talking today. I’m practicing silence. I take the note back to my son’s bedroom and show it to him as he dresses.

“Why?” he asks.

I shrug again, and he shrugs too. Discussion over.

I go downstairs and pack his lunch, clean the kitchen and glance at the clock. He only has 20 more minutes before the bus is due to pick him up and I still haven’t seen him in the kitchen for breakfast. What should I do? Break my silence and shout up from the bottom of the stairs, “Malikkkkkk! Where are you?! Come on Man!”

Hm, nope. Not today. Instead I clap my hands loudly three times from the base of the stairs.

“Coming Mom,” my younger son responds immediately, and comes jogging down the stairs completely dressed and ready for school.

Normally, I have to shout up the stairs at least two or three times before getting a response, but I clap my hands three times and he comes running? Hm… I may actually be on to something here.

But there’s still one more hurdle to overcome. The teenager. The 6’0” athlete sprawled out on his bed that usually cannot be awakened by the annoying alarm on his cell phone, the force of his younger brother jumping on his back and bed, or me prodding him and yelling his name repeatedly for five minutes.

Let the challenge begin.

After kissing my younger son goodbye, I make my way upstairs with determination. I will not speak, I promise myself.

As I walk into his room, I can see his body twisted in the sheets and comforter. His legs are hanging off the bed on one side and his arm is hanging off the bed on the other. His mouth hangs ajar the way it does when he’s in a deep, deep sleep. I stop to mentally prepare myself. I will not speak.

I forcefully shake his arm and back for a few seconds, and miraculously, he moves, stretches… and turns over on the other side and goes back to sleep. I don’t give up, or shrink away from the challenge. Instead, I slap his bare leg, hard, and he mumbles something, but keeps his eyes closed. I walk out of the room to gather my thoughts, then turn back and bang as hard as I can on the bedroom door. He jumps up, startled, and looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. Satisfied, I smile and wave him toward the bathroom.

“What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you saying anything?” he asks me with the slurred speech of someone waking from a deep sleep.

I shrug and point to my mouth. I mouth… Not Talking.

“Why not?”

I shrug again and leave the room.

Long story short, he actually makes it to the bus stop on time (a rarity, but that’s another story for another time). He doesn’t go without trying to get me to talk to him, though. I refuse with a smile, some gestures and a hug and kiss before he leaves.

As he walks to the front door, he tells me in his new, deep, authoritative, young man voice, “I don’t like this not-talking thing, Mom. You need to talk.” Then he leaves.

What a peaceful morning. No struggles, no fighting, no yelling upstairs, no threats, no last-minute scrambles and sprints across the yard to catch the moving bus as it drives away from the stop. Peace, calm and order.

I might be pushing my luck to try it tomorrow, but I’m okay with feeling satisfied with what I got today.

Watch What You Wish For

December 2, 2010

It’s my birthday week. I’ve been anticipating and planning it for more than six months. My 40th. A true landmark year in terms of birthdays.

For my Sweet Sixteen, my parents planned a beautiful formal affair at a local civic center. My father, a professional photographer, took the pictures of the guys in their 1980s suits and matching Jerricurls. My boyfriend at the time, Jamal, had on a tuxedo with tails. I wore a fuchsia satin floor-length gown made just for me by a family friend – the same seamstress who made my debutante gown and wedding dress years later. I love to celebrate birthdays.

For my 30th birthday, I planned a grown-and-sexy pajama party. The pictures are under lock and key and what happens at an Althea party stays at the party, but I will tell you that the lingerie and silk pajama coed fashion show was something that will be remembered in many people’s minds for various reasons. Uh… well… those that were sober and can recall the events of that night. I love to celebrate birthdays.

I love birthday celebrations so much, I go as far out as I can with my sons’ birthday parties. I was just reminiscing with a cousin last weekend about Lil Maurice’s 1st birthday. He wasn’t even walking when I scheduled the inflatable bouncing machine, the husband-and-wife clown team, and ordered an elaborate Sesame Street cake that was large enough to feed our entire street of neighbors – many of whom came to celebrate the birth of the wild-child’s baby. I love to celebrate birthdays.

Anyway, I’m three days away from the big 4-0 celebration. Six months ago, I was trying to decide between a huge bacchanal adventure on a Caribbean island I hadn’t visited yet, or a month of partying with my friends in various cities where I’d lived. But in August, my close girlfriend and studio manager became very ill, and my mindset and daily life activities were… what’s a good word?… altered.

After two months of daily and weekly hospital visits, teaching multiple fitness classes, handling studio issues I hope to never see again, and still being an attentive mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend, I didn’t want to party. I didn’t even want to talk about my birthday. I just wanted to sleep. In fact, two months turned into three months and then four months. Hard and difficult decisions about life, and my business, and my family had to be made during those four months. Really hard and difficult decisions.

So, a month ago, my husband asked me – for maybe the 10th time – “Althea…” (when he says my full name, this means he’s really serious) “Althea, what do you want to do for your birthday?”

I sighed, and rubbed my eyes and sat back from whatever task I was engaged in. I blinked a few times, as though that would help me find the answer in my crowded mind. After a minute or two, I replied with a weary voice… “I just want to go to the mountains alone and sleep. I want to meditate and think and read and write and plan. I want to get a couple of spa treatments while I’m there and I want to eat good food that I don’t have to cook.” There, I’d said it. I’d made up my mind. And I meant it. No party, no people, no major celebration. Peace and quiet and me-time. No problem, right?

Big Maurice made all the arrangements. A long weekend at Chateau Elan. It wasn’t the mountains, but it was far enough away to be away and close enough to have dinner with hubby, the kids and my brother on my actual birthday. Chateau Elan – known for fantastic amenities and top-notch spa treatments – was my new focus. I just had to make it to the week after Thanksgiving. No problem, right?

I started with getting substitute teachers for my classes at the studio. Then I started wrapping up open items on the studio to-do list. Then I started planning what I would do with 4 quiet days to myself. I’d start on Wednesday with a late wake-up, breakfast with my twin who is also celebrating his 40th on the same day, an acupuncture session and then an afternoon of shopping at the outlets. Then on Thursday, I’d wake up late again, pack my clothing slowly and take a leisurely drive up 85 to the resort. My list of birthday weekend to-dos included things like planning my 2011 creative calendar, reading about chakras and meditation, soaking in a hot tub of scented water and listening to lounge jazz with a warm eye-pillow resting on my face.

What really happened was Big Maurice had a major meeting at his office on Wednesday, so I woke up early to get the kids off to school. I got stuck in traffic trying to get to my birthday-twin breakfast. My twin was in a bad mood the whole morning, so I spent the morning trying to cheer him up. I raced to the office after my acupuncture appointment to handle payroll and still missed getting my younger son from the bus. I sped through the crowded afternoon streets to meet him and do homework, cook dinner and begin laundry. My husband fell asleep on the couch around 9:30pm while I cleaned up the kitchen and yelled at the boys to “GO TO BED NOW! I MEAN IT!”

Okay, so Wednesday didn’t work out as planned. No biggie. The real birthday activities weren’t supposed to start until Thursday anyway.

Today – Thursday morning – I woke early again to get the kids ready for school because Big Maurice had to race to the office. My older son walks downstairs and calmly informs me that he forgot to tell us, but the band concert schedule was printed wrong at the beginning of the year and he actually has a band concert tonight at 7:00pm. As I look up from the computer screen of emails waiting to be answered, I gaze around the room at all the stacks of mail, unfolded laundry, shoes and bags everywhere and I remember…

Four months ago, I started asking – repeatedly – for a day with no appointments, classes or meetings. A day to be in my house to clean and declutter. In fact, I wrote two blogs about the clutter in my home and how my life was not allowing me to tackle it. It all came back to me. And I realized, at that very moment, that I’d gotten exactly what I’d wished, prayed and asked for. For my birthday, no less. A full day with no appointments, meetings or classes.

I now have a full day to clean and declutter my house until my younger son comes home from school and needs a snack before homework. I now have a full day to clean and declutter my house until my older son needs to find his band shirt and a clean pair of black pants and needs to be taxied to the school early to prepare for the concert. I now have a full day to clean and declutter before running to Walmart to restock the pantry and cabinets with food and toiletries before I leave for the weekend. And I will do all of this with joy so I can truly relax and enjoy my leisurely drive up 85 with my meditation books and scented eye-pillow.

I love to celebrate birthdays. Especially when I get exactly what I wish for…

Reflection

April 15, 2010

I’m planning my 40th birthday celebration. It’s not until December, but I like to plan. Because I’ve started so early, I find myself reflecting on the last 20 years. It’s strange for me, because I don’t feel like that many years have passed. It feels like I did a whole lot of stuff in just a few years.

For most of the people I know, they become morose and depressed as they reflect on the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s of their lives. When I think about my last 20 years, I smile, laugh out loud, shed a tear, and wonder – “How did I do that?”

I didn’t leave college with a plan. I just did what was expected after you leave business school – I went to work for a major company in their management development program. All of my peers did the same thing, and many of them are now Directors, VPs and top executives at companies around the world. But I knew early on, it just wasn’t for me. I hate pantyhose – always have. I love to wear heels, but not the kind that are appropriate for Corporate America. I like to wear suits, but my taste is a bit more colorful, shape-showing and sometimes Bohemian. Not exactly the right fit for a Fortune 500 company. So I left the rat race – against the advice of my peers, friends and mother – and started teaching aerobics and personal training in a gym. I was happy and having fun and that’s what life is about.

I didn’t have a plan for a relationship or it’s future. I just did what felt right. I continued dating my college sweetheart after graduation and between multiple long distance moves, because no one was better than he was and is. When he asked me to marry him, I was shocked because – unlike most of my college friends – I wasn’t trying to hook a man, I was partying and enjoying life. So… we got married. I was happy and having fun and that’s what life is about.

When we found out I was pregnant, we – and my entire family – were completely surprised. My family was concerned because I loved to travel and get lost and end up in weird places and explore and come home whenever I felt like it. I loved to party and sleep and get up whenever I wanted to and… just be free to be me. But sure enough, along came my first son, and I fell in love immediately. And he simply traveled with me and got lost with me and explored the world with my husband and me. Having a child stifles some people. For me, it made exploring and learning even more fascinating because I experienced the wonders of life through my baby’s eyes. And I didn’t stop partying – I just got a babysitter and kept on dancing with wild abandon to drummers and house music and hip hop. I was happy and having fun and that’s what life is about.

I decided to take advantage of an ad I saw in a fitness magazine for aerobic instructors to teach while traveling. So, I taught Yoga and dance and water aerobics at resorts in Jamaica for many years. I got free vacations, made wonderful friends that I still talk to and visit in Jamaica, and I feel like I have another home to go back to. I explored Jamaica with my husband and my son, and had one of the best girlfriends’ parties ever there. I was REAL happy and having LOTS of fun and that’s what life is about.

One year, I thought I could make a fitness video just like Donna Richardson. So I did. In fact, I made six of them that sell internationally. And I made a television show that aired for two years. And I hosted the fitness segment on the weekend news for over a year. And I started presenting on the fitness conference circuit. So what if I was pregnant with my second child and raising a 3-year old toddler. I did it all anyway. Why not? I was happy and having fun and that’s what life is about.

Who decides to pack up their entire life – spouse, children, tv career, local fame – and move to another state and start all over again? Me. And it was the best move of my life. I spent a year getting my children settled in a new house, in new schools, and personally making new friends. Then I thought about what I hadn’t done in life and still wanted to do. I wanted to open my own fitness studio. So I did. The classes are packed, we’re hosting private exotic dance parties almost every week, I get to do Yoga every day, and I’m positively changing peoples’ lives every day. I am happy and having fun and that’s what life is about.

Who thought a woman that likes to dance barefoot, water ski in a thong bikini, and knows more hip hop history than most men raised in the 80s could be a community leader? Not many people. But sure enough, I’m the president of the a local business organization, a regular fixture at the county’s Chamber of Commerce, a former representative for the school board, and very involved in local economic development. I am happy and having fun and that’s what life is about.

Was it all good times and easy street and fun? No. There were – and still are – challenges, struggles, mistakes and painful endings. But those things make life interesting and colorful. They also make the good times feel so much better. They create character, empathy and understanding. They keep hypocrisy at bay. Most importantly, they offer wisdom that can only come from personal experience.

So here I am. 8 months shy of 40. I’ve done more with my life in the last 19 years than most people do in a lifetime. I have absolutely no regrets about any of my decisions in life. I’ve experienced life as a single person and a married person, a mother of a newborn and a mother of a son as tall as I am, an employee and a business owner, a face in the crowd and a leader in the community, a shy wall-flower and a party animal, a student and a teacher, a magazine reader and the cover model on a magazine, an avid reader and a popular writer. I don’t have limits. I don’t allow people to tell me what I cannot do. More importantly, I don’t allow me to tell me what I cannot do. I live every day like a new opportunity to create an adventure without restrictions. I am happy and having fun and that’s what life is about.

Business Meeting @ Chuck E. Cheese

February 18, 2010

I recently had a flashback to Fall 2002. I was living in Baltimore and my fitness outsourcing business was just beginning to grow. I had 2 corporate contracts and new companies were calling me to hire teachers for their fitness centers. There was a fantastic Pilates and dance instructor I’d been dying to bring on board, but we could never seem to get our schedules to mesh.

“Can you do 11:30 on Monday?”

“Uh, let me see… nope, my oldest has a playdate. What about 5:30?”

“Nope, soccer practice at the Y. How about Tuesday at noon?”

“Can’t. The 2-year-old has TumbleTina class. Can you do earlier at 9:30?”

“Uh-uh. Sesame Street 9-10.” (sigh)

Finally, we agreed that the only way we would be able to meet was to schedule a business playdate at the local Chuck E. Cheese. I don’t like to use the word “hate”, so I’ll say, I truly dislike attending functions at Chuck E. Cheese.

Anyway, Chuck E. Cheese it was on a weekday around 11:45 am. Our 4-year olds chased each other in the jungle gym, while her 2-year old tossed colored balls into the mesh netting enclosing the ball bath. We each held a child, nursing, to our breast as we wrote quickly into our Franklin Planners and notebooks (yes, I was still doing Franklin Planner in 2002. I’d had a bad experience in 2000 when my Palm Pilot died unexpectedly and I didn’t know when or where I was going and couldn’t find numbers to call anyone to find out. It was 3 years of fear and mourning before I could return to electronic scheduling).

An hour and a half later, our meeting was done, the kids had all been fed, and a playdate had been knocked out all at once. Triumph.

Fast forward to 2010. A contact from the Chamber of Commerce called me and indicated we needed to meet immediately. Both of our schedules were booked solid with meetings, luncheons, and presentations. We both sounded fatigued and stressed as we scanned our Blackberry and Outlook calendars, trying to find any open 2-hour slot in the next few days.

Suddenly an idea came to me. Jeju Spa. The Korean bath house located only minutes from both our homes. Jeju is not your typical American spa. Yes, it has saunas, whirlpools, steam rooms and massage. But it also has wifi, CNN on plasmas, and computer work stations tucked quietly behind gigantic saunas Jeju refers to as “igloos.”

“Can you meet me at Jeju tomorrow morning? I have a window of time between kids leaving for school and my first presentation at 11:45am.”

“Perfect. If we meet at 8:30, I can fit in accupressure and still make my 11:00 meeting at the Chamber.”

When I combine relaxing barefoot on a heated marble floor with closing a business deal as the scent of jasmine and sage float in the air… bliss is the only word that comes to mind. The spa is my golf course, and it’s definitely a step up from Chuck E. Cheese.

Pit Stop

February 14, 2010
Each and every one of my days is scheduled from waking to sleep. Not like my husband’s schedule in which he is constantly in fear of a flight cancellation between Amsterdam and Barcelona or Tai Pei and Hong Kong. His scheduling concerns are bit more lofty than mine, but not nearly as complicated. Why not? Because he only has to worry about his own schedule.

Not one of my days looks anything like the next day or yesterday. And I like that. Being a Sagittarian that craves variety and freedom and excitement and hustle, I love planning my days with the anticipation of something new and different coming up in a day or a week. But anything I schedule for myself also involves some major arranging (and rearranging) for my sons and their activities.There’s that one time I was called by the casting director of Tyler Perry studios to be an extra on a taping of The House of Payne and I spent the majority of my day on set in makeup and wardrobe. And that time I decided to teach for a week once a month in Jamaica. It took 4 months before I grew bored and stopped going.

The point is, I need variety in my mommypreneur lifestyle. For me, but not for my kids. My older son is a lot like I am – he’s a free spirit, always ready to go anywhere, for any reason, with anyone. My younger son… not so much. He craves routine and schedule and order. And as a responsible mom, I provide it for my kids even though it goes against my natural character.

Each and every day of the week and weekend has a routine. Tuesday for instance is 3:45 – younger son home for snacks, homework and mom time. 4:20 – older son home for snacks, attacking younger brother, and talking non-stop, while I multi-task clean-up, dinner, and prepare to leave for classes at the studio. 5:30 – babysitter arrives. 5:45 – I leave for work. 6:30 – older son leaves for soccer. 7:00 younger son and babysitter interact. 8:00 older son home from soccer. 8:30 we all eat dinner, kids shower and get ready for bed. 9:30 I start yelling to the kids to stop talking and playing and “go to sleep.” 10:00 I repeat yelling to the kids. 10:30 I may possibly still be yelling to the kids to “GO TO SLEEP! I MEAN IT THIS TIME!” Every Tuesday looks just like that without fail. It bores me to tears to have that much routine, but it’s perfect for the boys.

Last week, I decided the kids (and I) needed change and fun and excitement in our schedule. We needed to rekindle our relationship as mommy and boys just like a married couple needs variety to keep the relationship interesting and fresh. I struggled to remember the last time the boys and I had been on a road trip together or racing each other in go-carts or doing any of the things we used to do on a whim. Not in a long time.

Last Wednesday, my night class at the studio didn’t start until 7:45 and neither child had practice or something scheduled to do. So, at 5:30 I announced… “Hey guys, grab your coats and wallets. Let’s go the mall.” Now I know the mall is not really a big deal to most people. However, getting to spend an hour or two just walking through the mall for no good reason is not something I ever do and definitely not with my kids since they grew out of the stroller.

By 5:50, we were at the mall and the boys were excited as they punched each other through the sliding glass doors. We started with the indoor skate park where teens were skateboarding and blading over smooth hills and high-fiving on ramps high above the ground. Then we went to the book store (my boys and I are all book worms. I could have stayed in the bookstore for the rest of the visit, but alas it only lasted 15 minutes) where the boys discussed the latest release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the new book and movie series that looks just like Harry Potter to me. My older son wanted to spend all of his money on 3 books in the new like-Harry-Potter series, while my younger son discussed the merits of saving your money and checking in the library first as he resolutely returned his book to the shelf (at least I got one to carry on my genes for spending wisely). We then spent the next 5 minutes at the register as I turned my older son’s POS into an extended math word problem. I apologized to the people standing in line behind us, but if you don’t teach them early about money, tax calculations and change, they’ll be fools as men, and this momma is not raising any irresponsible fools.

We eventually left the bookstore to walk and window shop. Our next stops included the Lego Store, the Japanese import store (they carry real swords and Japanese comic books which were both of major interest to my sons), and the candy store (where I refused to allow them to buy handfuls of sugar). As we stood at a kiosk purchasing a new wallet for my older son who recently lost his wallet full of money and gift cards (sigh), the younger one saw a trampoline and trapeze at the end of the hall. His little face lit up and he started to dance.

“Oh Mom, can I jump on that thing?” he asked excitedly pointing to a little child jumping barely 2 feet of the trampoline.

I thought about it. Normally, I would say no and we’d rush out of the mall to the next scheduled appointment. Looking at my watch, I quickly calculated the time we had left. There was time. So why not?

“Sure, Honey. Let me finish working with your brother on this wallet thing, okay?”

He started to dance and spin and hum, which he does when he’s really happy. We made our way to the booth and saw that there were two activities that could be purchased for one price. The boys calculated the per person fee, put their money on the counter and raced into the kiosk kicking of coats and shoes as they went.

After 5-10 minutes of back-flipping, jumping to the ceiling of the mall, and sliding through elastic bands, we were finally able to pack up and leave – right on time to put me back on schedule for my class at 7:45.

On the way home, the boys talked about how much fun they’d had and tried to remember the last time we’d done something fun for no reason in the middle of the week. They couldn’t. Neither could I.