Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Reconnecting to Happiness

When Liam was little, before he was old enough for preschool, we would spend days wandering around, exploring things.  I'd load him into his stroller and walk for miles through Studio City along Ventura Blvd. and shady streets, throw him into a backpack and hike the mountains or stroll through the zoo for hours.  It was wonderful to be so free.  One day, in the zoo, a man looked at me and remarked, "you look happy!" At that moment, I felt a deep sense of contentment and joy and beamed back, almost discovering the fact for myself, "I AM!"  Liam was in his jogging stroller, kicked back and happy, ready to bounce out and run up a trail to check out the lights or bamboo plants along the edges.  I just loved hanging out and BEING in different spaces without the need to rush back for an appointment, school or work.

This week, I've been rediscovering that feeling.  Dealing with the recent hospital stay of a family member, our family has been unmoored from even our basic routines.  The positive effect of it has been to allow me to "play" more with the time we have in a day.  While John was at the hospital, Liam and I would just leave and go from one thing to the next, with little planning.

On Monday it was a trip to Burbank Mall, where I'd hoped to let him do some indoor bungee jumping.  I was bummed to see that the area for bungee jumping had been turned into Santa's throne area.  I was worried that Liam would be very dissapointed, given the buildup, but he was content to run into Old Navy and pick up some new flip flops for our trip to see Grandma and Grandpa in FL.  He took a moment to pose with the mannequins out front.
We followed up with a trip to Wetzles Pretzels and then Liam found a cotton candy machine that was playing some fun music and he burst into a happy dance.  

Yesterday, with Thanksgiving looming, Liam and I headed out for some supplies, but first we stopped at Castle Park Arcade.  He immediately noticed that they had added some red flags to the turrets.  We spent about an hour and twenty bucks on Liam's favorites, especially the Pacman Air Hocky game.

Then we bounced over to Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys Park where Liam loves to create "digital" numbers on one of the interactive areas of the playset.

Today it was a walk to Ralph's, Rite Aid and Starbucks - all in a nearby shopping center that I've always meant to walk to, but always opted to drive.  Time for a new adventure.  Liam asked, "What are we going?"  He's still working on prepositions and pronouns.  "We're walking to Rite Aid today!" He quickened his step.  He loves Rite Aid, specifically, taking videos of the digital display on the Lottery machine.  His fascination with digital numbers is a challenge in store situations, as he often wants to run up to the front of a line to see what's on the register, or even behind the check stand.  A friendly checkout clerk at Ralph's once let him help scan the groceries and now he wants to do it all the time! 

These are the situations where we have to stop and learn about boundaries.  Hard, when those glowing numbers are RIGHT THERE!!  

We took a break a Starbucks with a latte and a chocolate chip cookie.  Liam and I played a game where he pretended to be Mario shrinking and growing from encounters with enemies and one-up mushrooms. 
Boys communicate best when they're busy doing something.  I'm looking foward to seeing what's going on inside, while we play.  Today was a happy day.

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