The store on the corner was only 5 blocks away. Five blocks. Five blocks to collect my thoughts and dream about my life. Five rows of houses to stare at and admire their architecture. Five blocks of trees, and gardens, and kids playing in the yard. Five, short blocks filled with lazy cats, 7-year-olds riding their bikes, and men washing their cars. I enjoyed this walk perhaps more than I knew.
My life was crazy, crazier than it ever had been. After 3 kids, one of which is my husband, 2 dogs, 1 lazy cat, and never-ending piles of laundry, fresh air and silence were a rare commodity not to be taken for granted. I had missed the quieter years, it’s true. Years of my life spent in silence and daydreaming. Years of only having to worry about myself and my short list of things to do for the day. Now my life was anything but silent and easy.
My husband was a worker, always in the office, always on the phone, always on another planet. My kids, well, they were on another planet too. Jackson was my five-year-old who believed in aliens and astronauts. His whole world was being obsessed with outer space. One day he was an alien and you couldn’t tell him any different. The next day he was an astronaut on a mission to save us from the aliens. I loved that kid but he was rarely on earth.
Missie, on the other hand, was just that. A 12-year old who knew she was all that. “Miss Priss” insisted she needed makeup at twelve, and that her YouTube channel would lead her to instant stardom. I tried, rarely with success, to pull her away from the Tube and into reality. Her world was digital though and she believed that she was the Queen of the internet. I let her live in that fantasy, not sure if that was wise or not. After all, I had my own YouTube channel.
As a small business owner and full-time mom, I don’t know how I managed to stay awake during the days. Coffee seemed to be losing its effect on me. My YouTube Channel was how I marketed myself to gain new partners and followers. It wasn’t easy. Starting something new never is, especially when your five-year-old is in the kitchen conducting “science experiments to beat the aliens.”
I sent my kids to private school because public school would just not do. As such, Missie took her friendships very seriously, as well as her “extracurricular activities.” That kid was like her father, couldn’t be still for a second. Jackson, I suppose was more like me, always lost in his thoughts dreaming of a different world.
Sometimes, I just wanted to lay on the couch and sleep for 10 hours, but between disasters in the kitchen and Missie yelling at me to take her to god knows what activity she had that day, that was not going to happen. My husband lived at the office and his meetings and was a robot when he came home, so he wasn’t much of a help either.
The only thing I had was my weekly walk to the corner store. Every Sunday morning, I found an excuse to go there. My husband and kids would still be sleeping. I’d slip out as the sun rose, and take my time heading to Freddy’s Market. Whether we needed milk or bread or paperclips, it didn’t matter. I just had to get out and breathe. To think about the beginning of a new week and ask God to help me, like a lot, lot. To dream about new business ideas and to pray that my husband would please stop being an alien himself.
I prayed for my kids too. Oh, how I prayed for them...and my sanity. How did life get so busy? How did it get so crazy? One moment I was young and changing the world, in my mind, and the next I was a devoted wife and exhausted mother. I didn’t sign up for all this.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I love my husband, mostly. However, sometimes it can be hard to have time to love myself in the middle of all the madness. That’s why these walks mattered. I could finally hear myself think and remind myself of what was important and what I really wanted out of life. Phone calls to new clients were kind of important, but not as important as writing my husband sweet sticky notes that I posted throughout the house.
Posting a new video every week was important for my business, but not as important as making creative (and always healthy) lunches for my darling, and annoying, children. Coming up with new and innovative products was great, but not as great as going to all my kids’ games and most of their practices. Computer work was necessary for my company but not as necessary as praying for my husband, a lot.
Those walks saved my life. I don’t know that I’d be half the mother or half the wife that I am, without them, in all honesty. I could think straight, at last, and catch up with myself and God. I got new ideas on those walks and felt recharged and reinvigorated.
Some people go to church on Sunday morning, I preferred my walks. They were my church. I got much more out of them than sitting in an outdated pew surrounded by hypocrites who secretly judged me. I felt more of Heaven outside on those walks than I sure did in those stuffy places. I knew there had to be a God because He gave me that.
He gave me those walks to the corner store to find beauty, beauty in the small things. I often felt overwhelmed by great responsibilities like trying to be a patient and loving wife to an absent and distant husband. I felt burnt out by the demands of raising two independent and wildly imaginative children. Even my dogs and cat seemed to think that I was their god and they needed me.
But during those walks, I found a reason to be grateful. I was thankful to have a loyal and hardworking husband. I was grateful to have two healthy, brilliant children. I even loved those irritating dogs and the lazy cat who loved to ask me for food. I appreciated that my husband made sure we always had enough and had always supported me running my own small business. I found gratitude to God that my daughter was well-liked and highly motivated.
I valued my son’s vast imagination and creative thought process, as I saw myself in him. Could my husband be better to me? Sure, he could actually acknowledge my existence, but I held on to faith that God could fix him, if I kept praying and doing my part. Could my kids calm down for a moment and spend more quality time with the family? Absolutely, but I was glad that they wanted to live life fully.
It was easy to see the storm clouds and rain in the middle of the storm but when I got outside of the storm, I could always see the rainbow. Outside of the house, on those walks, I saw the symbol of hope, in my mind, promising me there was a pot of gold on the other side. I had to just hang in there, keep the faith, pray more, love more, laugh more, live more, whatever the hell else they say.
But seriously, I knew, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that it was all going to be okay, somehow, someway, someday. I believed my business would thrive and my husband would need to work less. I believed my son would grow up to be a genius scientist or maybe a fantastic Sci-Fi writer or even a fantasy filmmaker. My daughter, my daughter would be the Mayor, or Governor, or even the first female President. She’d chart uncharted territory and be a voice for many.
I had to remind myself of these things on my walks. But because of these walks, I could. I could return home and be a better wife, mother, and businesswoman. I could love myself more and I was a happier person, as a result. Had I reached all my dreams yet? No. Was I always a ray of sunshine? Absolutely not. But was I one step closer? Yes, definitely. And I owed it all to those walks to the corner store. Five blocks. Five blocks can change your life.