It seems I have traded in my running shoes for walking shoes.
Oh, they're still the same pair - green and white Asics I bought halfway through training for our marathon. A few days before the race, I decided they were not broken in enough, and I made a wild last minute decision to run 26 miles in my bedraggled navy New Balance shoes.
The Asics are good and broken in now. They've got tiny holes in the mesh at the bottom of my baby toe. The stitching is coming undone near the top, and they aren't so much green and white now as they are green and gray.
Where are the days when I had time to schedule a three hour run? Sometimes I wonder this. Three unbroken hours for anything is a chapter in the imaginary book I keep called "If I Had Free Time and No One Depended on Me."
So I lace up the old Asaics and pull out the stroller. We go walking in the morning, before the heat rises to its peak. It's possible to beat the heat, but the humidity is an early bird, and by the end of our walk, Anna and I are both sweaty.
As I walk, I look down at her chubby feet. The farther we go, the farther down in her stroller she slouches. Her legs swing over the edge, and she flexes her toes up and down. Those chubby, short toes! If she's getting bored with the trees and the wind and the birds, she pulls her left leg up to her ear and babbles like she's found a new friend. Hey, it's my foot!
On every walk, I think, "I wish I could preserve those sweet baby feet." I know in ten years, when I might have the time and energy to take up running again, I will remember the chunky legs and pudgy bare feet of my first baby. How her bare feet meant she wasn't yet walking, she was riding. How she needed me to carry her when we collapsed the stroller and slid it back into the shed. How she wanted me to carry her, how she snuggled her head into my shoulder, how she pulled at my shirt when she wanted to nurse, how for that short time, I was totally and completely her world.
Free time? Don't have much of it. But as it turns out, I would trade every infinite minute of it for two plump feet.