Let’s do it! I was feeling particularly adventurous as we drove home from soccer practice on this beautiful summer day, and the timing felt just right. Everyone was in a good mood, the stress level was at an all-time low, and most importantly, I was 100% in the moment. It is hard for me to be fully present when I am trying to manage a household of 4, but when it happens it is magical and I happily unleash my wild.
I pull the car into the bank’s parking lot and I asked for any volunteers, who is coming with me? My kids think for a minute and ask the expected questions given my proposal: Will we get in trouble? Are we allowed to? What if my friends drive by and see us? Finally, they proclaim with honesty, Mom, you are crazy!
I explain to them that this is an item on my summer bucket list and the time is now. Every year, we make a summer bucket list. I make my own, and each of my kids make their own as well. It provides us with ready-made ideas for those long summer days when someone utters the words, I am bored. We create lists that include realistic ideas that we can easily accomplish in our hometown without spending too much money.
My kids’ lists include family game night, paint my room or family talent show. As the summers pass us by and we continue our bucket list tradition, we have become more creative with our ideas, too. It keeps us on our toes each summer and ironically, forces us to be spontaneous and wild.
So, here we sit ready to cross the last item off of my personal summer bucket list. When I added run through the sprinklers at The Simsbury Bank to my list, it was intended to be a joke. Surely, I would never actually do that! The bank is located on the busiest road in our town, and I care way too much what people think.
Even I am surprised that the perfect storm of emotion, happiness, presence in the moment, and spontaneity has struck and has inspired me to take the plunge. My youngest is the only one who shares my sentiment and we prepare to dash through the yard as the bank workers peer out the window and think, what the hell are these lunatics doing?
Emmet and I run out of the car and sprint onto the lawn of the bank. We run through the first sprinkler and our clothes are dampened with the cold water. Sprinkler number two, here we come. This one is aimed a bit higher and my hair gets soaked as Emmet jumps up to meet the water. We giggle, we smile and we are happy. Happy and 100% in the moment.
My mind is blank from worry, fear, and thoughts of the past or future. Cars are honking as they drive by. My teenage daughter takes pictures from the car as she thinks, I hope my friends don’t drive by. This is my best wild today, and I immediately want more wild moments. More moments of just being present and spontaneous. More moments enjoying my health, family, love and laughter.
This good wild is what I am after in motherhood. Good wild is saying forget your bedtime lets sing karaoke for a little longer. Good wild is picking up the kids early from school to surprise them with a girls’ day they will never forget. Good wild is letting your 7-year-old son use your makeup. On himself. Because, well, why not?
The truth is, life is short and difficult. Life can knock the wind out of you over and over again. You can trudge through the motions of being a mom, wife, employee, and friend; and it can feel like it is all too much. Sometimes, you may even feel like you want to quit. Quit doing the laundry, quit going to work, quit sacrificing to keep your family afloat. But we never do.
We never do quit and thank god for that. We keep going. We dust ourselves off and we try again. We make it through the stressful moments and we embrace our memorable ones. Our best-self moments provide us with memories to cherish during the worst-self moments. Memories to dull the pain when the world is heavy on our shoulders, memories to chuckle at during a hard day, and memories to remind us that we are good moms doing our best every day. What more could our kids ask for?
Next time you get a crazy idea with your kids in the car, don’t hold back; we are all dying, and although we may have 5 years left on this earth or 85, I promise you the end will come too soon. We will be wishing we had more wild moments, more intimate memories, more laughs, and more 100%-in-the-moment moments, screw work, forget -the-laundry-and-the-homework-moments. Make those moments happen now.
Suzanne Hayes is a freelance writer whose works has been featured on Scary Mommy, Today’s Parent, Kveller, and Working Mother. She uses writing to make sense of the mundane, the chaos, the giggles and the tears. Her writing is heavily influenced by the wisdom she las gained through living as a mother in recovery from alcoholism. Stop by her blog at Sober Mom.