mother’s day + free range kids

Weekends during deployment are somewhat bittersweet right now, especially with pseudo-holidays like Mother’s Day falling on them. It was a beautiful weekend complete with perfect weather, plenty of sunshine, and outdoor time, to boot. Best of all, it was the perfect time to embrace these little free range kids here on post. There’s something beautiful about living on post here that I didn’t appreciate at Fort Huachuca because we didn’t have children at the time.

Here, children run wild and free – much like I believe kids should, to an extent. It’s part of what we loved most about South Africa, too. It’s less encumbered. I love seeing free range kids playing out in the front yard, biking down the street, or helping other neighborhood children. Obviously, there are the exceptions, but it’s a wonderful part of on-post life for us, and my boys enjoy plenty of scooter and bike rides while I sit on the stoop and just watch them go. It’s so much safer than it was in DuPont, and I’m thrilled to have this luxury.

I fully expected Mother’s Day to be a downer, but I was pleasantly surprised. Though my boys have no concept of the holiday, and Ryan is obviously deployed, there was a beautiful simplicity to watching Spencer and Porter play while Mieke and I basked in both the sunshine and their giggles. We had a friends’ family over, the boys were able to play with a friend, and I had some adult conversation, which was good for my soul.

In the past, weekends have been so hard. Too often, I’ve found myself counting the hours till they tick away towards bedtime, but watching these little free range kids go wild has made the days better, sweeter, and far more fun. In turn, my weekends – though hard – are full of joy, too. For that, I’m grateful my Mother’s Day was simple and quiet.

Motherhood is no joke. Army life is no joke either, and combining the two is often a highly combustible mix. A huge part of it, however, is perspective, and I know these days are fleeting. So, I’ll take these simple weekends full of sunshine and smiles, and I’ll embrace them head on.