Walking in New Jersey with Babies

I know I should be running. There’s really nothing like running. The only thing remotely like running is walking.

Yesterday Barbara and I drove with my sleepy daughters to visit Mandy and her baby in Summit, New Jersey. We sat in the sunny suburbs. We  pored over the school auction catalog.  (Last night was the big fundraiser. Spent too much).

Then we walked in a public park. Morris County Park. Maybe it was half a mile there and back — past a stream, past dog walkers and curled-up caterpillars. We had to step off the path when little tyke bike riders rode by.  The girls bickered. Then held my hand. Mandy’s funny husband, KC, pushed the stroller. Baby Nathaniel wore a baseball cap.

It was absolutely idyllic. We stopped near a playground. We chatted at a picnic table.

The thing about walking that’s better than running is you can talk to several people at once. When you run, you can only talk to one person. But when you walk you can spread yourself around. Or you can talk to no one. You can stare at the teeny tiny shoots of green emerging from the dead leaves. And you can marvel at the miracle of it all.

The miracle of growth. Of that new baby growing into some big kid. Impossible to arrest the march of growth (in March!). My little kid was once that little baby in the stroller.

I miss the baby days. I love babies. Their silliness, chubbiness, simplicity. The way they have no subtext. They feel something, even gas, they express it. They do not censor themselves. I love my grown-up kids. Their witty remarks, their athleticism. But I miss their snuggly baby days. I try to hang on to them as long as possible. I still baby them.

I was a bit depressed  on Friday, having to write about Haiti —  the incredible sadness of losing my coworkers in Haiti. And then worries over Chris’s inevitable decline with Parkinson’s. But then, I see a baby, or feel the sun, or one of my kids hugs me tight, or I walk or ride my bike, or yes, I  run. Or like on Friday, I ducked into a NYC museum and see great art. And I feel better.

These fixes are non-pharmaceutical cures for whatever ails me. Take two walks in the park and call me in the morning. Tell me if you don’t feel the same way. Feel some inevitable March of growth.

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