By now you know that my new favorite hobby is walking with Henry. We go almost every night, in the stroller or carrier, to the end of the block or for a mile or three or five, if we’re running. In seven months, my love for these little moments and for him is only increasing. I knew it would, but it astounds me still.
Yesterday was my rest day and since Henry was out cold in his car seat upon arrival home from daycare, I swapped him into the Beco carrier and headed out for a walk. He woke up quickly, but was so snuggly even then, as we bounced along. It was glorious.
He wore a shorts and short-sleeved romper to daycare for the first time and it was extra sweet to see his long, skinny, bare legs hanging out from either side of the carrier as we walked and in our shadow. His head was plopped on my chest, eyes wide and awake, but simply watching and still. I tried to swing my arms as we went — you know, the normal way a normal person walks — but he kept clutching for my left arm with his wriggly fingers. He held on, squeezing softly with his pointer and thumb, making sure I was there. I’m sure lots of babies do that, but sometimes it feels like it’s his thing, our thing. I can’t use my arm while he holds it, so I wrap it around his bum instead in a little hug.
Don’t forget how much you love this, I whispered to him as we walked, this special time with Mama. Even when you’re older, and bigger, and stronger. When you ride your bike, or run alongside, or are too old or too busy or too cool. Don’t forget the way we used to walk together. That you used to search and search with your fingers until you found my arm and held on tight.
We ran into our new friends, five month old Charlie and his mom, Jen. Mama drafts friends freely and easily, with hope more than certainty. The boys stared at each other, curious. The mamas made small talk: about the boys’ sleep, and hair, and habits. See you on the loop again soon, I called, as we walked on.
I read something in Runner’s World recently, on the website: Tips for Running with a Jogging Stroller. The first remark was to run without it whenever you can. For real training — serious running — sure, but I love our nightly ritual, bringing H along and chatting to one another as we go. I love when I peek around the front to see how he’s doing and his big, gummy grin lights up with familiarity. You’re here, he seems to exclaim. It’s you!
Everyone comments on his eyes and his full head of hair, remarks that he’s handsome, and it’s all true, of course, but he’s already other things too. He’s sweet and easy, silly, determined, and curious. Hungry. I hope he will be hard working and honest, adventurous and smart, but all of these other things still. And I hope he remembers when we walked together, holding on tight.