Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Date Day

Today was one of those flawless Autumn days. Crisp, clean air, vivid blue sky, just impossible to resist getting out of the house. Never mind that there was a mountain of laundry to be washed, dried, folded and/or put away. Don't look at the kitchen that needed cleaning, or the basement playroom that screams for straightening and organizing. Just get dressed and run out the door without a backward glance. This is just what Connor and I did today. We had a "Mommy and me date day."

We started with a tasty lunch at Connor's favorite restaurant. Not McDonald's, Pizza Hut, or any of their ilk. Nope, my boy chose the Hunan Inn, a local Asian cusine spot. We got our regular- Pad Thai, Crab Rangoons, Won Ton Soup, Crispy Noodles, and a pot of tea to share. YUMMY!! Connor poured the duck sauce, I poured the tea. We both mentioned that we wished Daddy were there with us and promised we would do this with Daddy during Christmas vacation. After a tasty lunch, and with crrab rangoon safely stowed in my purse for a snack later, we were off to one of our favorite places.... Longwood Gardens!

We have had a Garden Pass for over a year now and we just love nothing better than being able to wake up and say "Let's go to Longwood." It happens 2 - 4 times a month, year round. We have the set things to see and do, and there are always new installations to explore and enjoy. What a treat!

Today was a typical Fall visit. Enter the Main Visitor's Center and take a bio-break. Hand the gate people our pass for scanning and beeline it to the Garden Railway display (they seriously need a permanent Garden Railway).

We chit chat and wander on our way there, saw the ice skating rink being installed for the Christmas shows, and then the whistle called and Connor was running ahead to see his beloved trains. Moments like this fill me up with emotion. He is so small, and so big all at the same time. I can't believe he is 5 years old, and wonder where the time has gone. He is so remarkable to me, all energy and enthusiasm, love and curiosity. How lucky I am to have him in my life.

Now we are at the Garden Railway and we do a few circuits, checking out which engines are running, what freight cars or coaches they are pulling, see who is on which track. I notice some flowers that have been changed out for a fresher display, late summer bloom replaced with colder weather things. I even get a moment to sit on the bench and read while Connor tears around, racing and watching the trains.

Once this activity loses its shine, we are off to the Conservatory, which is just as well because I am getting chilled. I figure we are going to do a lap of the Conservatory- Main halls, Mediterranean Garden, orchids, Tropical, Cactus... Today we start in the Children's Conservatory and for the first time Connor gets thoroughly soaked in the fountains. He asked if he could, and I saved his sweatshirt for something warm and dry to change into. I watched the pure joy in his face as he splashed and plunged his arms in the deeper fountains. I also watched the other mother's irritation as their children yearned to do the same and they said no. I felt a little guilt, and then put it on the shelf. Too bad if they weren't prepared, I was and Connor wasn't breaking any garden rules.

After a quick change into his warm (and dry) sweatshirt we played explorer and wandered around the Conservatories, pretending we didn't know where we were. To be honest, we approached some displays new ways and they looked so different we really were discovering them. We watched venus flytraps eating a hapless ant, saw the gardeners pruning the water lillies for the winter, and admired a pomegranate hanging from a bonsai tree.

What a delight when you throw responsibility to the wind and live a day like this. Just a moment in time to be with your child, to look at the world through his eyes, to take the day at his pace. Those moments when he is tired and I am carrying him and we are whispering secrets to one another. That glorious moment when a smushy wet kiss lands on my cheek and he tells me he loves me and that I take such good care of him (warm, dry sweatshirt!). The sun shining, the breeze blowing, the slap of his feet on the pathways, the gleam in his eyes while watching the trains, the warm weight of him as I give him a ride- How do I bottle these all up and hold on to them?

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