Down by the River

It was beautiful fall day in Minneapolis. Soon, it will be cold and the ground will be covered in snow. We’ll all be bundled in coats and scarves and hats and mittens, lumbering about in our heavy boots.

Days like today are to be treasured so we went for a walk down by the river with our friends.

We arrived, found a place to park and stood by the car waiting to cross the street. I wrapped my left arm around Miguel’s waist, grabbed his hand and began to dance. He laughed low and quiet, the way I imagine he’ll laugh when he’s a teenager or even a grown man. He said, “No waltzing in public, mom.” I pulled back, “No?” He smiled and said, “Just about anything but waltzing.” Anything but waltzing turned into a faux sword fight with sticks we found.

Once our friends arrived, the adults took off down the path and the kids lagged behind, exploring and climbing trees. They were never really with us – always doing their own thing. They do that more and more; They need us less and less.

I kept my eyes on them, not because they needed me to but because I needed to do it. I needed to feel that they were all within my reach when more and more they are just beyond it. When we reached the river, we stopped and turned around and watched them in the distance, all three kids straddling a fallen tree and talking animatedly to each other while we sat on another fallen tree and talked and took silly pictures of each other. Parallels.

We walked away from the river and into the woods and came to a small stream with muddy banks. I yelled back to the kids, “Don’t get muddy!” Miguel called for me and I turned to find him standing with his toes on the very edge of the muddy bank, smirking at me. I watched as he jumped across the stream, watched as his shoes slid in the mud and he laughed as he ran to catch up to me.

“You got mud on your shoes. You are in big trouble, kid.”

He shrugged before bumping me lightly with his shoulder, “Yeah, yeah, mom.”

I watched him walk away like I was seeing him for the first time.

I don’t know how many more days like this we have…days filled with sun, days of sword fighting with sticks. Time is taking us ever forward from fall to winter, from our kids’ childhood to something beyond.

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15 Responses to Down by the River
  1. Kelly
    November 18, 2012 | 10:11 pm

    These are the sweetest moments that I also find myself in recently. Thank you for giving them words.

  2. Alexandra
    November 18, 2012 | 10:13 pm


    I hang on so tight, to Auggie still wanting to sit on my lap, to Alec still asking me to scratch his back, to Xavier asking me to lay with him for awhile before he falls asleep.

    I hang on so tight …

  3. Laurie
    November 18, 2012 | 11:34 pm

    This made me feel melancholy. Way to go, Vikki.

    Seriously beautiful.

    • Vikki
      November 19, 2012 | 10:47 am

      Don’t want you getting too giddy!

  4. Meg
    November 19, 2012 | 5:15 am

    For some reason I feel very testy reading this. You have a way of writing things that just hit my heart. It’s a gift, Vikki. Thank you.

  5. Meg
    November 19, 2012 | 5:16 am

    Oh man! “Testy” is supposed to be TEARY.

    • Vikki
      November 19, 2012 | 10:47 am

      Testy made me laugh though.

  6. Miss Britt
    November 19, 2012 | 7:23 am

    Beautiful. There are less days with sword sticks, but still there are moments

  7. Shannon
    November 19, 2012 | 7:40 am

    The “something beyond” will be good, too. Right? That’s what I tell myself, at least.

    • Vikki
      November 19, 2012 | 10:47 am

      I hope so.

  8. Katherine
    November 19, 2012 | 10:56 am

    This makes me really want to go on a walk with you and the kids. And have you narrate the walk as we go.

    I feel a little happy/sad every time Emilia is content to sit in her room and play by herself. I feel a bit of relief that I don’t have to entertain her all the time and am amazed at all the skills she is learning, but then I worry about the day that she wont want me to read to her or snuggle her at all.

    • Vikki
      November 19, 2012 | 9:12 pm

      Trust me. You don’t really want me to narrate a walk. It’s like OCD come to life!

  9. Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom
    November 19, 2012 | 6:36 pm

    My twelve year old son has his preteen days and then he’ll surprise me and come out of his man/boy cave to hang out. He still lets me put my arm around him at times, we laugh together and we play guitar together. That’s the part about his getting older that I’m really enjoying – his evolving sense of humor and the new things we can do and appreciate together.

  10. jana
    November 19, 2012 | 7:21 pm

    Aah, this makes ME testy er, teary, too. Beautiful words, Vikki. <3

  11. tracy@sellabitmum
    November 19, 2012 | 8:44 pm

    That something beyond is just magical…I know it. xo

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