It was amazing

“You never play outside with us like that, mama!” my daughter said, smiling. 

“I know, love,” I began. “I want to play outside with you…”

She cut me off. 

“No, mama. You did play outside with us today and it was the most fun day ever. It was amazing.”


I cannot even begin to count how many times I have written about my mom guilt and that number is about 8 billion fewer than the number of times that I have felt it.

I think that there are enough nuggets in this post that I should not have to link all of them individually, but it has certainly been a focus on this site, because, in all honesty, it is a focus in my life.

I hate to be redundant, so I often refrain from complaining about all of the things that I cannot do. I try to stay positive.

I write about the little things that make me proud.

Sometimes, it is the tiny things, like making homemade chicken tenders that my children actually eat, and sitting with them, reading a story, as they smile and chew.

Other times, it is after a stressful morning, during which time I have made food for four individuals for at least two meals each, dressed three of said people and gotten everyone out of the door, on time.

On those mornings, I pat myself on the back, drive to work, and give it all I’ve got.

Then, there’s this.

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 3.36.10 PM

If you can read the caption from my Instagram post last night, you will see that yesterday morning, after successfully getting my daughter to the bus stop on time (SCORE!!) my pants fell down. On the street. As a car drove by. Slowly.

There was a full moon in the Philly Suburbs yesterday morning.

I often try to make light of, and to find the humor in, my current “situation”.  I do it subtly. It’s a coping thing.

I also don’t want people to read this site and say, “Womp Womp, there she goes complaining again,” and so I try to really illustrate how I cherish so many things in life.

I could make a list right now, with great facility, of the reasons for which I am so grateful for my tribe, just because of things that they have said and done in the past few days alone. I have the best team ever.

But I am getting off topic.

I was talking about being proud. And I can’t let myself diminish that, nor do I want to take away from the main point of this post.

And so I am going to tell you a story. I do love to tell a sweet little story from time to time.

One week ago, last Tuesday, I picked up my son from school and we had a nice snuggle session while waiting for his sister to get off the bus. Once we fetched her from the bus stop, we took the 30 second walk home and instead of trekking right inside I suggested that the kids play on their jungle gym. The backyard is right off of the top of our driveway and so it was staring at me, beckoning us for some imaginative play.

I should back up a bit. When we decided to move to our new house, one of the greatest selling points was the property.

I am not a gardener in any way and I have never thought about “the property” when looking at homes (I have been much more focused on where I could envision putting my Jonathan Adler canisters and pillows, tbh).

But this house. I found it to be enchanting. Not only do we have this great backyard with a fully operational greenhouse

(do you know how magical it was for the kids and me to be able to make THIS from our own backyard this past summer?)

but I found our front yard to be reminiscent of a fairtytale forest. We have about 70 different types of trees (and that is actually not an exaggeration; if anything, an understatement), with those that are huge and majestic, others that are short, twisty and look like giant Bonsais and some trees so tall that I literally cannot see the top.

But, despite my adoration for my outdoor space, I have not been able to enjoy it fully, yet.

We did not cook out this past summer. We did not play capture the flag or manhunt or build a real snowman.

And so, last Tuesday, something inside of me said, “Stay outside. Capture the moment.”

And I did. But in the real way, meaning not from behind the lens of the camera on my phone. In fact, my phone died, and so it was just the three of us, with no phone, no camera, no inhibitions.

That is why the picture below looks like summery; it is from the summer.

image3My kids played on their jungle gym, making up games that involved pirates and rescue missions. I sat and watched them and took in the beauty before me.

When when I looked behind me, I noticed something else. Our property is all gated in (Lola heaven!!) and there is a huge area of pachysandra that spans from the far side of our backyard all the way to half of our front yard. And I thought to myself,

“We should totally make a path this summer so that we can go from the backyard to the front yard from that side of the house, as well. That would be so much fun! The kids could have the run of the entire place in a safe way.”

I mentioned this to my kiddos and told them how excited I was feeling for the warm weather and how we could run around and go through those passageways and up the different paths that lead to the front door and play games and…

I paused. What was stopping me? What was holding me back?

Well, primarily, I was nervous about walking through the thick pachysandra for the first time, as I envisioned animals and nests and things popping out at me. But I was wearing over the knee boots, which was comforting for me

(and yes, this is how my mind works) and so I thought, “I can do this. I think I can. I think I can.”

“Hey guys, do you want to all hold hands and be brave and run through to the front yard?”

So I stood in the middle of our group, a small hand in each of mine, a lot of leather covering my legs (in case of a rogue squirrel colony), and we ran.

We ran across the crunchy green below our feet and made it to our front patio.

We literally laughed with glee, and ran around, celebrating.

“How cool is this? We can do this!”


And so I suggested a game. First, I tried to play tag, but since none of us are big fans of running and there are some size/speed discrepancy issues, I then moved on to hide and seek.

We spent the next 45 minutes playing hide and seek behind the beautiful trees in the front yard. We took turns, and this game got intense. In fact, I hid so well, at one point, that my son got scared. I had to call out, from my post behind a large Holly tree*, to say “Buddy, I’m here! I am just hiding because I am supposed to be hiding!”

*I have no idea if it is a Holly tree but it looks like it to me based on my knowledge of trees and my extensive Google Image research.

We played and played and laughed and squealed and played some more.

My son even coined a new name for our game, the super creative, “Hide and Seek Trees”.

(The name has stuck, by the way, and they’ve talked about it every day since.)


When it was finally time to go inside, we went to our back door, stripped off our muddy shoes and coats and though it had gotten a little cold, I felt so warm.
It was one of those times when I did something that was so “normal” or “easy” for most parents, but such a big deal for me.

It took extra mental and physical fortitude, but I pushed myself, and it was so worth it. I cannot always push myself–

I should not always push myself–

but in this case it was the perfect balance of motherhood and self-care.

We had barely crossed the threshold into our house when my daughter grabbed my hand. She looked up at me.

“You never play outside with us like that, mama!” my daughter said, and when I tried to reply with an apology, she made sure to add,

“No, mama. You did play outside with us today and it was the most fun day ever. It was amazing.”

And that meant more than anything.

I had taken the other path. And it was scary, but it was everything.

My pride skyrocketed higher than the tallest trees.

My heart felt bigger than the fullest Holly-looking-tree.

It was enchanting.

It was magical.

It was amazing.

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