I'm exercising again. Once every nine months or so I like to give the whole fitness thing a good, college try. So far I've had about 10 consecutive days that involved me doing something that actually required a sports bra, tennis shoes and sweat. I've been eating healthier and trying my darnedest to rejoin my real life after a year of sporadic travel, hectic hours and less than stellar eating habits.
I've actually eaten breakfast, juiced carrots and made myself go to sleep early. I'm beginning to feel more like myself - more rested and relaxed. Since my kids opted out of most of their after school activities this year, I've even gotten creative and tried to include the whole family in my new lifestyle.
Sunday afternoon I made a proposition to my family, 'Let's lay down and rest for a little bit and when we get up we'll all go for a walk on the levy.'
Sadie, my 3-year-old, squealed and clapped her hands, 'The whole family?'
'Yep. The whole family. Even Moses,' I said, referencing our new black lab.
Everyone was excited by this idea and found a quiet corner to read or nap for an hour. After a little cat nap, I hopped up and got dressed and yelled for everyone else to get ready. Aubrey, my 8-year-old, was already dressed. She slipped on some flip flops and waited by the door. Emma, 6 years old, heard the word 'levy' and made the leap to 'river' and 'swimming' and showed up at the front door in her two-piece bathing suit. Sadie had sunglasses, tennis shoes, a doll sized baby sling and had her favorite baby doll strapped to her chest.
Realizing that we were going to be moving at a snail's pace, I told Emma to change clothes, told my husband who was in the kitchen filling a water bottle that Aubrey and Sadie and I were going to start walking.
He nodded vaguely. Moses lost his mind when he saw us all outside and after wrestling with him briefly, I finally got him on his leash. We were about three houses away from home when Zeb came running up behind us with a water bottle in his hand. 'Where's Emma?' He asked casually.
'She was with you. She was standing in the kitchen with you when I told you we were going ahead. Go get her.'
He turned and jogged back to the house returning shortly with our middle child. Bless her heart. We had barely made it to the levy when Sadie started asking for something to eat.
'Honey, we will be back home in a few minutes and you can eat then.'
Aubrey dragged her flip flops in the dust and gravel sending clouds of red dust in the air and coating my legs.
'Please pick up your feet and walk,' I requested.
Moses was off the leash running and playing while Sadie screamed at him like a panicked mother, 'No Moses. No. Oh no. Moses. Don't go down dere. Dat's so dangerous. Moses, here. Here.'
Emma came skidding up beside me on her bike, slamming on her brakes and throwing herself to the ground. 'Oh my knee. My knee,' She cried.
'I want a snack,' Sadie cried.
Aubrey rolled her eyes. 'I'm bored and it's hot.' She reached out to hand Sadie an apple she had apparently gotten from her Daddy and accidentally dropped it in the dust. I'd have picked it up and wiped it off and shoved it in Sadie's mouth if Moses hadn't chosen that exact second to come running by and pick the apple up like it was a tennis ball.
Sadie screeched, 'My apple.'
Emma: 'My knee. Momma, hold me.'
'I quit.' I said. 'Turn around. We're going home.' I herded and cajoled and wrestled Moses back onto his leash. 'But I don't want to go home,' Sadie moaned.
Moses wrapped himself around my legs, taking the leash with him. Zeb saw something in my eyes that alarmed him and took the leash from my hand. With Sadie on his back, Moses' leash in his hand and Emma riding on her bike beside him, he led the trek home. All 400 feet.
If muttering cuss words under your breath burned calories, I'd have lost 20 pounds on that walk home.
(Robin O'Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is 'Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.' Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at RobinsChicks.com.)