Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wonder Woman meets the peacocks

Yep, that's Quinn peeking through an amazing "house" built from trees and limbs and sticks all sculpted into this multi-room imaginative wonderland. The picture doesn't do it justice. We found it during our Veteran's day holiday visit to the wonderful LA Arboretum, one of those hidden treasures in the concrete jungle, where you are surrounded by free roaming peacocks and well kept flora and fauna. It's a real gem. They filmed a ton of shows there, including Tarzan movies, On the Road to...movies, Notorious, Lassie, Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman, Love Boat, Buck Rogers, and of course, Fantasy Island! Da Plane! Da Plane! And, to be there with my former co-op partner and close friend and her cute-as-can-be girls made the day even extra special.

For the majority of people, this place is reserved for a weekend or holiday excursion, but for us stay-at-home moms, this was part of our rotation of possible common weekday activities. So, this visit during the week felt normal, but also a reminder of how much our lives have changed since our kids started school. I step more and more out of my comfort zone as the kids get older (and I totally struggle with that), so it's nice to go back to something that feels so comfortable and simple. It was obvious that the kids appreciated it, too, because they were extra exuberant, wild, loud, and smiley. It was like their souls were crying out for freedom to explore and to be young unrestrained spirits, free to climb trees, chase peacocks, and get dirty. They are expected to be so contained during the long school day - following rules, learning social skills and expectations, making/keeping friends, and all this while learning their abc's and numbers.

It's the same for me. Not only do I have the typical responsibilities of work, spouse, family, friends, children, school, etc., but I also place a ton of expectations on myself as well, and if I don't give myself a break once in a while, I also go a bit crazy or blue. While I don't exactly climb trees and roll down hills for a stress release, although I should, I also need my own version of escape or I start to slowly lose my mind and myself. I guess we are all constantly discovering what really makes us happy, and sadly some of us never find that no matter how hard we try. I do know it has to come from within us and we cannot depend on anyone for our happiness. But damn, a good laugh over a glass of wine and pasta with a close friend or a sweet soul-to-soul conversation with my man sure does help. Some days I just have to be content with watching my kids giggle and run and not ask myself "what's in it for me?", and that's okay. Usually happy kids make happy parents and sometimes the best feelings happen when you let go and simply enjoy the moment.

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