Updated: May 3, 2021
My three-year-old daughter loves swinging at the park. She leans her head back as the rusty metal chains holding the cracked plastic seat move her away from me. Strawberry blonde hair caresses her slender neck, a radiant smile lighting up her face. Brown eyes sparkling, she shouts, “Push me faster, Mommy! Faster!” As she swings back towards me, I reach down and tickle behind her knees. Her giggle is infectious. Wisps of baby fine hair lift with the breeze as the swing rushes forward. Back and forward. Back and forward. Tiny tan legs move in rhythm. Back and forward. Back and forward.
She loses height and starts to slow. “Again, Mommy! Faster!” I grab the front of the plastic swing base and brace myself against the swing’s momentum. I slow her to a stop, adjust my grip, and pull her close before letting go. She sails back, laughter fresh on satin pink lips, her cheeks alight with joy.
My son, mercurial in his moods. One moment shy, eyes downcast, long dark lashes gently sweeping across his cheeks. Reserved. Confidence tempered. When in his element, relaxed and in the company of loved ones, he comes unfettered.
Silliness personified, he opens his mouth and sticks his tongue out to the left side of his face, revealing three gaping holes where baby teeth finally released their hold.
He crosses his eyes and emits a high-pitched dinosaur shriek eliciting fits of laughter from his sister. He performs for the simple joy of seeing his companions doubled over, my joy-bringer.
We play games, constantly. He can’t sit still. Bouncing, jumping, dancing, flossing, wiggling, a blur of movement. Like his body, his mouth keeps a rhythmic flow. Part song, part sound, unintelligible rhapsody in motion bubbling up and overflowing from his slender frame.
Sweet “I love you’s” from tiny pink lips, wet, sloppy, melting hugs. Hot cheeks alongside mine. Perfection. Small bodies jumping, monkey legs wrapping around my waist, arms squeezing my neck in a sold out, authentic, desperate embrace. Pint sized hands cup my cheeks, squeezing hard to pucker my lips then gently releasing their hold.
When I watch them, I start to glimpse what freedom truly looks like. Freedom to be yourself, without fear of other people's opinions. Finding joy in simple pleasures and moments with the people you love most. This is the kind of freedom I am looking to embrace in this new season of life.
Share some moments where you've found freedom in the comments below!