We went to the strawberry patch this weekend.
Friday night I googled “pick your own strawberries near Atlanta” to find that all of the farms were something like 90 minutes away from home for us, but I was determined to make the trip anyhow. I did spin the truth a little for the husband who I was afraid would be less inclined to make that journey. Once we were in the car, my assessment of the trip changed from an hour or so to about 80 minutes, but he forgave me, and we made good time. In the end, it was worth it.
We had every intention of leaving the house by 9:30, but that never seems to happen on a weekend outing. Somehow though, when I lugged the camera and diaper bag to the garage and we buckled Jude in his seat, I saw that the car clock read 9:34, so I’d just like to note that. It might never happen again, but the day totally went beautifully and as planned. And if I ever had a need for a day to go beautifully, it was Saturday.
This kid really knows how to pick a strawberry.
And how to eat one.
Sometimes I feel like the best thing about motherhood is the chance to get a do-over for things you wish had gone differently for your own life. In the process of trying to make things better, I might create new things that the next generation will want to correct, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. We left the strawberry patch wearing our stained clothes and smelling like sun with a worn out boy half-asleep in the back seat, and his half-nap pretty much ruined his sleep pattern for the day, so he was super cranky that evening. And the sink was full of dirty dishes and we ordered take-out for dinner because I couldn’t muster the energy to cook.
But we were wholly present that morning picking strawberries.
I know the whole live in the moment thing gets too much exposure in our world, but I’m going to be cliche and say it anyhow because that’s the secret to life, in my young opinion. Be wholly present. Sometimes the bad clouds my vision, but the good is there too, and true presence always magnifies the good. Somehow by noticing the warm sun or the sweetness of a strawberry or the intentional way my boy looks for the perfect red berry to pick or the way they taste baked in a scone the next morning with some dark coffee – by noticing these things and being grateful for them, life seems a lot less harsh. Even the most unfair elements of it seem to burn a little less.
I ache almost tangibly for things that cannot be undone that I wish were different. But I also ache for what the future holds for my own little family. There will be more trips to the orchard and more playing in the sand and more tickle fests and more warm meals around the table and more everything that makes my life worthy. And when Jude looks back at times with me, whether he was strawberry picking or doing something much more mundane and everyday, I just want him to say that I was present. In every way. All there and all listening and all loving. I want him to know that his parents love him and love each other, and that life is good.