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It's Not About the Double Stroller (Well actually it is)

Walking uphill and facing the wind, I quickly do the math. Nadia (proud 5.5 year old) is just over forty pounds, Mateen (the toddler) is plus twenty, and the double stroller must be at least twenty more. More often than not, they play with each other. Eighty additional pounds, I push, and I climb. I remind myself to straighten my back and look down at my legs to see my quadriceps work. I feel strong and alive, even if strained. I hold on to the handlebar tightly – thankful for its support and balance, as I transition to the downward slope. Suddenly I wonder to myself, how did I ever walk this path without the stroller?

I was always a walker. Growing up in Sub-Saharan Africa, something I did well was walk everywhere. In the hottest of hot days, and with the dry wind blowing dust into my face. I love to walk. It is my time to feel and process the many things. It is my time to determine what my opinion on something is. Walking is my tool. I organize thoughts, make plans, and find motivation for action. It is my means of being a creative thinker.

Oh, to be a creative thinker again! My mind now begins to wander. What does that look like in my now family-focused life? Do I still take time to think creatively about the world, and my role in it? Do I still try to keep an honest awareness of self and the collective to which I belong? I haven’t walked like this in a long time. Walked mindfully. My mind and daily routine are so very consumed with the children I push in this stroller. Currently they are trying to determine who truly has possession of the bag of apples I handed one of them at the beginning of the walk.

“Mama, isn’t this mine?” yells the older one. I break away from my wandering mind. I pull out another Ziploc bag of sliced apples from the handlebar accessory (that nifty pouch can hold more than just your water bottle and phone), and pass it over to a reaching hand. I am still walking. I say nothing. My son acknowledges the gesture with a smile and they continue on their interaction.

The thought of creativity returns to me. It’s a funny thought - to consider that as a mother to these unique children I should feel the loss of creativity. Perhaps its more than making babies for nearly ten months and getting them out into the world that I’m questioning. Perhaps that creative self is yearning for more than making the milk nourishing them for 1 to 2 years of their life. Perhaps it’s about more than shaping their character in the formative years of their life. The loss I am feeling is a result of a particular need to let my mind do just this – to think.

I turn off the path and onto the sidewalk down our street. The kids are ready to get out of their seats and walk the last few hundred feet themselves. Now they are running because they see their father, just home from his very own long day, parked on the driveway. He is standing out looking in our direction. Arms open.

“You went for a walk!” he calls out with a knowing smile.

In this moment I realize it has been far too long since I’ve gone for a walk. It’s been far too long since I have given myself the time to think about the many things.

So, as often as I can, I lace up, buckle them in and walk; and I thank God for my active mind, my legs, my cargo, and my double stroller.

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