Yesterday, I wore flip-flops for the first time in months. Today, I drove with the car windows down, my elbow peeking out into the sun. Over the weekend, I packed away Em's snowsuit, shoving it into a plastic storage bin with a feeling much like triumph.
Suddenly, I feel like spinning around in a field with my arms spread wide like Maria in "The Sound of Music."
"You don't even like going to the supermarket," my husband said to me when I complained about this the other day. "I would have killed to go to the supermarket," I told him. "I was even jealous of your commute."
Instead, Em and I stared glumly out the windows, missing our mommy and me yoga classes and our regular trips to Foodtown. Em rolled around on her play mat or bounced around in her Jumperoo while I spent hours planted before the lackluster glow of my laptop screen. I felt guilty that she had no one but me and the cats for company. I worried she wasn't getting enough fresh air.
During the winter, the months were long and her milestones happened quietly, almost without fanfare.
During these months, there was also the awareness that the last time I'd spent a span of my life housebound for days at a time, back when I first started freelancing full-time, I'd succumbed to the insistent tug of my chronic depression. Back then, I'd relied upon my husband as my sole source of social interaction, waiting with bated breath for him to come home every night, disappointed and resentful when he made other plans. I eventually realized it was too much pressure to expect him to be my everything.
So these past five months, as we spent day after day shuffling between bedroom and living room and kitchen and home office, I was acutely aware that hibernating for the winter wasn't exactly good for either of us. But inertia had us trapped. We could only wait.
But then other day, the sun was out. I went out to a yoga class wearing boots and I came back sweating. So my husband and I zipped Em into a hoodie and we drove to a nearby park and we put her into her stroller and we walked around the lake. We rolled on into one of the playgrounds and let her sit on its springy terrain where she clapped happily to herself as other kids zipped back and forth around us. We put her into one of the baby swings, even though I was afraid she was too little, but then she laughed and her hair blew around in the breeze and I almost burst into happy tears.