I have a new boyfriend. Divorced with two young children, I am cautious about another male figure in their young lives, in the event he opts-out. It’s been over a year, and we’re about to embark on our first camping trip into the wilds of British Columbia. It isn’t the wilds, but it feels like it.
We plan to talk with the kids about getting married next year. It is dependent on their response as to how we proceed. There is no point in upsetting the apple cart —as my mother advises— when the children are two and six.
We pull the car over at a rest stop in a mountain pass. Annie wants to pee, while Frankie wants to stretch his legs. His new runners are itching to take a spin.
“Look mom,” he says. “See how fast I can run. See the grip-shun.” He starts to run as fast as his legs will carry him.
“Watch the road now,” I warn. I grab Annie’s hand to take her down the hill to the restroom.
When we get back, Frankie is running back and forth like a maniac as he takes his new runners through their paces.
“See how fast they run, Mom,” he stops suddenly and spins.
“Let’s have a snack, before we hit the road,” says Danny. He grabs the picnic basket from the trunk. Annie holds his free arm as they walk to the picnic table.
We’ve snacked, juiced-up, and Frankie has tested his new runners.
“I’m over-floating with love for you mom,” he says cramming his egg-salad sandwich into his mouth.
He opens-up his arms towards me; stretches them around me, leans in. He plants a kiss on my lips—and he won’t stop. I raise my arms to his shoulders and try gently to pull him away. I start to hum, mumble and giggle a little, as I try to disentangle from Frankie. I struggle to be released from his suction-cupped, eggy lips. He presses harder.
Suddenly a smack occurs as his lips release.
“So, that’s what a kiss on the lips feels like,” he says. “Aren’t my runners cool, mom. See.” He lifts his legs out from under the picnic table, shows his runners again, then takes them for a spin again..
“Me too,” says Annie as she chases Frankie.
Danny and I look at one another and laugh. “You really want to be part of this family?” I ask.
“Race you.” He starts towards the children. He stops, turns and grins. Blows me a kiss. “Absolutely,” he mouths. I unscramble from the table and head towards my clan. In the wilds of British Columbia, I begin to feel optimistic.
Writing Practice: Tell a story, a simple scene, a life vignette that impacted your life: an incident, an emotion, an expression, a dialogue, or an image. It can be a jumping off point to something real or imagined. Weave a short tale that captures this moment expressing an emotional landscape of the time. Short scenes painted with words, can at a later time, be strung together to make a story, a chapter in a book, or simply act as a reminder of how these moments capture and make up our lives. Perhaps a moment like the one remembered here was the beginning of optimism for me and writing for health—mental health. Writing is certainly a low-cost mental health tool and can be used anytime, anywhere, and as needed. In-joy!