I’m a long way from home in a different state, a different time zone, a different climate and a different role. My youngest daughter needed looking after so I decided I’d go and take care of her for the week. This involved a week off work, a three hour drive interstate to the airport, a one and a half hour flight to yet another state then a 30 minute drive to her house.
It’s a hot place, with humidity being the main difference to my usual climate. Within minutes of arrival I was a slithering, sweaty mess.
Despite the heat I was determined to keep walking and running while away and thought I would be pounding the pavements of suburbia. Imagine my surprise when my daughter gave me directions that would take me off road. I found the loveliest shared pathway system that was within minutes of main roads but was completely unexpected.
I’ll try to describe it – it’s a shared path that links a few parks, running parallel to a creek/waterway; it crosses main roads at times; it’s mostly shaded with delightful gums & paperbark trees; it’s alive with bird life, water lily ponds and ducks; it’s well used by walkers, runners, bike riders and dog walkers – and it was just what I needed.
I’ve been using various parts of this pathway system morning and night in an effort to keep my steps up, to get some exercise and to give my daughter some time alone. It’s been a real surprise find in the midst of suburbia. Yes in places it’s a bit unloved and messy but for the most part it’s great. Many of the backyards that border the pathway have gates opening onto the area and there are basketball courts, play equipment and soccer fields along the way.
I’ve got a few different routes I’m now familiar with and I can find my way around the streets quite easily without getting lost.
I usually head out before it gets too hot in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. The trees keep the hot sun out and a breeze has been a welcome addition as I step it out. As I normally run in the forest at home this is a great substitute.
I’m enjoying the slower pace too as my daughter is easily tired and we rest a lot. I brought up my colouring-in books and special pens that were Christmas gifts (as yet untouched) and she’s enjoyed relearning the relaxing art of colouring-in, it’s only been 25 years or so since she first picked up a pencil. We are enjoying the time chatting, reading and relaxing.
We have been out for special treats and plan at least one outing a day. I am the driver and have astounded her with my parking ability. I also reminded her that I taught her to drive! I have to brush her hair for her every morning and have moved on from doing the side pony tails from years ago to now doing lovely thick plaits instead. She still whinges that I’m too rough so I’m relearning the art of gentleness.
I’m helping out and trying to make myself useful without being too annoying. It’s a fine line with grown up daughters! Her fiancé is very understanding and accepting which bodes well for their future together.
I’ve enjoyed spending time with her and just being a mother again. We don’t get to see her very often due to distance but we are in constant contact nevertheless! There’s no substitute for actually being together though.
I could get used to this pace of life and in fact going back to work is looking decidedly unattractive for many reasons.
It’s certainly been a nice break from normal life and I am very lucky to be able to have this time.