My Friend and I Walk Just Enough to Raise Our Heart Rates and Soothe Our Souls

I walk with my friend every day.

We walk just enough to raise our heart rates and soothe our souls. 

We walk just enough to vent the accumulated bile and open the valve on our frustrations so that we can put on a happier face at home.

There is so little going on but so much to talk about.

2 women walking in Brooklyn
We walk to soothe our souls. (Unsplash @thoughtcatalog)

We walk because the uncertainty and push/pull of these days is exhausting.

We walk because we love our families, but they leave an enormous mess in their wake; glasses and dishes are everywhere, sticky counters, and more laundry and trash than is humanly comprehensible. 

We walk because the opportunities that our adult children are not having are a palpable absence. 

We walk because we don’t mind the multitude of care-taking chores, but sometimes a hat tip or nod of appreciation would be nice. Sometimes just an “I see what you’re doing” would help. 

We walk because we are used to carrying our share of the family emotional load, arguably more than our share, but right now we wonder if we have the bandwidth for ours and theirs as well. 

We walk because the decisions we need to make right now seem bloated with importance. Can our kids meet up with their friends, play tennis, sit socially distance in a park? 

We walk because we fear that the answers we give them may be wrong. But we also fear that if they don’t go, they’ll stop asking to go, stop wanting to go, stop yearning to do what they are supposed to yearn to do at this age. 

We walk because every decision seems like a roll of the dice in a very, very high stakes game.

We walk because living with adult children under these circumstances is fraught. And, when we accidentally step into each other’s space it’s hard not to assume that it’s purposeful.

We walk because we want our children home, but we also want them gone, off doing what young adults need to do to move their lives forward. 

We walk because we know that this time will change them and shape them for the better in some ways, but we are worried about the permanent damage this time may do.

We walk because some days the anxiety makes it hard to swallow past the sawdust-feel in our mouths and other days we can’t stop eating. 

We walk because the Class of 2020 is graduating in every virtual way possible and we are showering them with all the love and congratulations we can muster, but a little voice inside is on continuous loop saying, “it’s not enough.”

We walk because we have no control over what happens next. 

We moms have always walked a fine line; when do we parachute in and when do we leave well enough alone? 

But, right now, that line we normally navigate feels like a tightrope and we the tight rope walkers fear that if we don’t maintain the perfect balance, everything will come crashing down.

We tell each other that if they could go out into the world and live normally again, we would happily stay home. 

And, if we mean nothing else, we mean this. Our losses sadden us, but theirs devastates us.

More to Read:

“Are People Doing the Best They Can?” is the Brene Brown Question We All Need to Ask Ourselves Now

I Wouldn’t Make It Through These Days Without My Mom Friends

About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

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