Once or twice a week we used to walk through our local park in the evenings. Through the gate we strolled, circling around over the stone bridge, down over water bug bridge and back through the meadow.
First alone with each other, then a baby in the backpack, then two, then three, Ben lying limp in the sling. And finally four, Alex chattering happily in the stroller. Later there were scooters, then bikes, racing to the stone water fountain, giggles in the dusk. Those were the days we were Mama and Boppy, stopping to watch the water bugs skate on the water, skipping through the meadow, racing to the car and the promise of ice cream.
Later still, it was the two of us again, Ben dragging behind in protest of his siblings growing up and leaving him.
Like the water trickling under waterbug bridge those years are gone now, as our children have moved away from us and toward their own lives. Like them, we have also moved on, making a new way in a new place. I confess it has taken me awhile to find my footing.
I don’t know how much they remember of those walks in the soft twilight, holding my hand on the stone bridge or hiding in the cedar tree while we pretended to search for them. Children’s memories tend to fade, hopefully leaving behind a sense of belonging, love and family.
But I remember. Oh, how I remember.