A Stroll in the Park

This summer, my longtime friend from Winona State moved from Milwaukee to the Minneapolis area. Everett and I finally set out to visit her and see her new apartment yesterday.  We made it a day of exploring her neighborhood, new shops and the lovely Wolfe Park, where the fall foliage was just on the brink of coming alive.

Shelly couldn’t believe how much Everett had grown since she saw him when he was a week old. Another best friend of ours from Winona State, Danny, was home from Arizona for a wedding this weekend, so he was able to join us for lunch at Blackstone Bistro, though lunch turned into a three-hour sitting, just the four of us.  He had been wishing to see Everett since the day he was born when we FaceTimed him from the hospital.

How was that two months ago? It made me stop to recollect how much has changed.  Not only has this beautiful baby boy grown inches, gained pounds, and taken up more space in my arms, our whole worlds have evolved. I feel like I know what I’m doing as a parent for the first time since we brought him home. I know just what to do to make him smile.  I know approximately when he will wake up each day, need to eat, want to nap, wiggle and play.

I take him with me wherever I go, unless I’m doing a photo session, then he gets to hang with a grandma or a kind friend. I don’t know how or why he is such an even-tempered baby, but I feel very fortunate that this is our case.  He sleeps peacefully in his crib, often through the night. From 11am-5pm yesterday, Everett did not cry once. He did, however smile a lot, stare with his beautiful eyes, nap, coo, and eat.

I love taking him on day trips. I know he’s just an infant, but it’s so special for me to make him part of my world, to show him places and people I love.  His needs are most important, always, so these outings depend on his behavior and mood.  Sometimes, he does have crying fits, as most babies do, and then we deal with them.  I can’t believe how kind people are.  At Target last week, I needed to fill a prescription. They told me it would be 30 minutes, so I got groceries in this time. By the time 25 minutes were up, he was crying and nothing would stop him.  I walked up to the pharmacy, and the kind-hearted technician offered to scan and bag all of my groceries so I could hold my baby.  As she checked me out, I learned she had a 9-month-old and a two-year-old at home. She totally got what I was going through—I’m sure seeing me sweat was another giveaway. I’ve found places to take care of EJ wherever we go. The Eagan outlet mall, for instance is a fun day trip because it’s outdoors. They have perfect nursing rooms for mothers. In my experience, the room was clean, had a comfortable chair and a nice changing area, and was complete with outlets for recharging/pumping/etc.

I loved walking and taking in the fall air yesterday, coffee in hand, and Everett in his stroller. I know I’ll be sad when he doesn’t go in his carseat that faces me anymore. I love staring at that little boy. The day was a wonderful chance for me to get out of the house and to reminisce with my dear friends. We’ve known each other in our “college days”, and have maintained friendships as we have started to make our ways and take new paths in the big world. I was able to share how much I love being a mother—but they told me they could see it without me saying so.

On my drive home from the city, the sun was beginning to set. Though Everett started the car ride in tears, he soon fell asleep. It was a peaceful feeling, knowing in just a short time we’d be home with his dad to snuggle, and play out our nightly routine. My favorite part of the drive home is the final bend in the road just before our home, near the lake. The sky was purple, orange and pink last night in those last two minutes in the car. There’s a strong juxtaposition I feel when I go from the city to Cannon Falls, and it’s one I like more and more each time I make the drive. With our families all around, this small, beautiful town is exactly where I want to be raising Everett.

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Kelly Jo Johnson | Forever Golden Living

wife & mama. blog author. photographer. style obsessed. for booking & collaborations 📧: kellyjophoto@gmail.com

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