Freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom.
This past weekend, my husband and I escaped. And I obviously don’t mean escaped as in I feel like a prisoner in my own home, a two-year-old and five-month-old the merciless wardens. That’s absurd.
Actually, that’s exactly what I mean. No, no. I joke! But seriously, someone save me.
Our good friends from college evidently heard my cries for help and invited us to get away with them to the mountains, so I hesitated for approximately zero seconds before replying with a, “Just tell me when and where. It’s going down.”
We soon found ourselves Steamboat-bound, not a carseat, diaper bag, pack-and-play, sound machine, 7,000 diapers, all the world’s wipes, or pouches galore in sight. Sure, I was going to miss my little men, but this time away was much needed. And not having to cram an entire SUV full of all things baby was pretty neat, too.
The first thing we were looking forward to when we arrived in Steamboat was a hot air balloon glow. There would be several balloons at the base of the mountain, casting an enchanting glimmer upon the fresh-fallen snow. And, to top it all off, a fireworks show right from the ski hill. What? Pure magic, y’all.
My husband and I are both essentially children in adult-sized bodies, so being able to enjoy an evening strolling about among the hot air balloons and fireworks sounded like absolute perfection.
Once we finally figured out where we were going (#iamtheworld’sworstnavigator), we snagged a superb parking spot and basically leapt from the car, more than ready for the supremely spontaneous, leisurely, effortless adventure that lay ahead. This was going to be glorious.
As we made our way toward the glowing balloons, I noticed a family with some rather rambunctious kiddos pass by. Praise Jesus for this alone time, I thought to myself. Gosh, we were so free and so…cool. I felt like we were sixteen and freshly dating all over again.
When we reached the base of the mountain, there was a little one toddling around in an overly-puffy snowsuit, looking like the sweetest darn marshmallow you’ve ever laid eyes on. Okay, well that was kind of cute. Alright, alright, super cute. But still…freedom, am I right?
Then there was the couple next to us holding their son’s hand while toting a baby bundled to perfection. Geez, Louise. That little boy looks just like Hudson. And Jones would just be snuggled up so tightly. That would be the most precious. Wait. Get it together, Krista! Freedom!
All of the sudden I was lost in observing the families around us, trying my darnedest not to come across as a total creeper. Many of their children were running about like uncaged zoo animals, most of them sprawled out across the snow, staring in awe at the brilliant balloons floating above.
And that’s when it hit me. Something was missing.
I’d found myself longing for our children to be with us, but, more specifically, I was missing the magic.
The magic of seeing something through a child’s eyes. The magic of knowing that the sweet little humans that my husband and I created are full of joy. The magic of sharing that moment with them. The magic of their magic.
But anyone who knows me knows that this is so not me. I adore my boys, but I’ve travelled freely since my oldest was only a few months old, even heading to Europe for weeks at a time. All without blinking. Without hesitation. Without tears (except that one time that my allergies were really bugging me. Weird timing.).
But maybe, just maybe, that was me. Maybe there’s a new me. And maybe, if I’m lucky, this new me is a better me.
It seems that I may have finally reached a place in motherhood where, after setting myself aside day after day for what’s best for my boys and our family, I don’t care quite so much about me anymore.
I’m called to so much more in this life than living for me and my happiness. And it’s not that I don’t deserve all of the good and beautiful things; those good and beautiful things are simply infinitely more magical through the eyes and hearts of my children.
So it’s not that I won’t ever travel again without them. We have three kidless trips in the coming months, in fact. It’s just that I’m starting to recognize that these crazy kids of mine bring my life a sense of magic that I didn’t even know was lacking.
And, in the rare moments spent adventuring through life together sans kids, I’ll have the absolute pleasure of staring into the eyes of my “big kid” to remind myself of the unparalleled magic that he holds, too.