Fresh Air – Finally!


Maria and Mario enjoying the 50 degree weather

The only good aspect of living through such cold, dreary, snowy, rainy, blustery days is that when a mildly sunny 50 degree day pokes through, it is like nirvana.   I had been trying to convince myself all week not to fall deep into the doldrums but it had not worked especially well.  I went to bed at 9:30 last night because I was tired and irritable and sick of the cold – go away old man winter!   

But then Saturday arrived like a bright pink package waiting for you on Christmas morning and I felt sparks of energy zing throughout my body.  The sun was out, and it was above 40 degrees.  I went for a run around the neighborhood.  I felt like I could go for 20 miles.  When I came home, Maria immediately begged to go on a walk – yes ma’am!  She got her homework sheet (find things outside that engage one of your five senses) and went to wait for me on the porch.  Mario, always imitating his sister, grabbed a pad of paper and pen and followed her outside (on a side note, Mario wore jeans today for the first time in probably 4 months – he had sworn off jeans and only donned sweats for all of winter (can we say George Castanza?!)) 

Enjoying their favorite tree

They walked a few houses up noticing the delicate Spring flowers blooming on the hillsides of the neighbors’ yards.  Mario did not like the white ones because they drooped downwards and looked like they were “dead.” He liked the purple ones standing at attention, sturdy, strong.  Mario is all into muscle lately whether on him (“Feel my muscles, everyone”) or on objects.  Maria reminded me that we needed to buy flower seeds and flowers to plant soon so our yard would look pretty for Spring.  She is a task master.  After looking around the street, she chose a car to describe her senses.  She saw the car, touched the car, smelled the car (she observed if it was turned on she would smell gas) and heard the car start its engine ( I tried for a flower or tree but she wanted a car). 

We headed up the street to Stauf’s for a bagel and cream cheese.  We had not hit Stauf’s together for a long time and it was refreshing to sit in the coffeehouse and relax.  And neither of my children ran around like crazy people, which thrilled me most of all.  Mario sat on my lap and Maria sat in her chair.  Is this what it is like to have well-behaved kids?  Love it. We took off down Grandview Avenue – Maria running ahead and hiding behind signs and Mario trailing behind doing the same.  Luckily, Maria is very good about stopping at every crosswalk but I still make her stop every 20 feet or so.  What is it going to be like when she is older and wants to walk alone with her girlfriends?! 

Mario soaking up the pampering

We made it past the post office, past the waterfall in the flower shop, and to the hair cutting place.  Mario stopped dead in his tracks; ran his hand through his hair, and demanded he get a haircut.  “It has been too long, mom.”  So, we headed inside.  Maria and Mario flipped through magazines (Mario’s was ESPN and Maria’s was Vogue – swear!) and Maria got called up to the chair.  She had decided she would “get a trim.”  However, she didn’t make it two minutes before she started crying about how much it hurt to comb her hair.  It went from a slight sniffle to a full-blown sob and we had to stop the hairstylist.  If there is one thing that Maria hates it is getting her hair combed.  I let her brush her own hair for school because she has such a meltdown if I touch it.  It is one of those battles I choose not to have because it isn’t worth it in comparison to getting dressed, getting lunch together, getting homework done.  She certainly does not do the best with it but I don’t have enough energy to waste fighting this one (although there are times that I just want to style her gorgeous thick hair!). Mario is up to the chair next.  He sits straight up, eyes focused in the mirror, sucker in his mouth, and does not move the entire time the stylist cuts, razors and trims up his hair.  He watches intently in the mirror soaking up the adoration and pampering from the staff.  When finished, he agrees to some gel through his hair.  When we get outside, the wind blows hard.  “Mom, does my hair still look good?”  The boy is destined to be the next drop-dead male model – god help us. 

We head to Giant Eagle next to pick up lawn bags and yogurt with candy on top (Mario’s new obsession).  I am concerned about the walk home because I now have bags of groceries and therefore it is inevitable one will be too tired to walk and want me to carry them.  However, much to my amazement, they run with each other down Grandview Avenue, stopping at the waterfall again and the mailboxes.  They continue to think it is so funny to hide from me behind a parking meter.  

We were so close to home when Mario tripped on a hose; hence, the end of the walk for him.  I carried him home with Maria by my side asking if I was proud of her for walking the entire way. “Maria, you are my amazing, strong, adventurous girl – I am so proud of you.”  She continued to look down the street but I saw a little smile form on her face. 

My rough and tough princess

Thank god for this day – we all needed it to raise our spirits and get us back into life again.  Recharge the batteries.  See the light.  Tomorrow is supposed to be back to 40 degrees and cloudy but we can handle it for a few days now that we have had the gorgeousness and splendor of today.  Besides, daylight savings time is tonight so it will be light until 7 or so every evening – another saving grace to keep us away from those doldrums.

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