I went riding today. Velvet was great. By that I mean she was relaxed most of the time. I made a silent agreement with her when we first set off that it might take six months for her to get used to the new surroundings. Until then I’d understand if she was overly nervous, high-strung and downright crazy. She spooked a couple of times, pretty badly, but I feel as if her body and mine are so connected at this point that I managed to stay on her when she jumped six feet to the left. Somehow I also had a conversation the entire way home, without incidence, despite the fact that she pushed herself into all three gaits. This allowed me to test a theory regarding riding horses and cell phones: yes, it is legal. I passed a cop while talking and riding and he said nothing about needing two hands on the reins at all times.
So, did I tell you about this new phase the baby is in? She is obsessed with TV. She wants it all the time. If you turn it off or say you’re not going to turn it on she screams her head off. She puts her arms down by her side like a monkey, leans forward, and just belts it out as hard and loud as possible. It usually ends in a frenzy of coughing and crying and over-the-top dramatics.
I wanted to get her mind off the wonders of TV today so I took her to the park. There was a large group of women there with babies. I guess it was some kind of playgroup. I noticed that they were all somewhere around my age, or older, with one fresh little baby. Though I hardly consider it as accurate, they all referred to each other as ‘girls’. As in, “Hi, Girls!” and “See you Tuesday, Girls!” They were beautiful, all of them, freshly made-up with clean and fancy haircuts. Every one of them was wearing boots. I realized I’d never seen boots at the playground before. Not like that, anyway. Not leather and buckle and wedged knee-high boots. Not a whole group of boots and hair and make-up. It reminded me of the first time I went to a playground in Manhattan. The moms there wore heels. I am not kidding. Heels in the sandbox.
So maybe I’m glad that the women of my generation don’t roll out of the house in a sweatsuit and flip flops to go to the park. Maybe I’d like it even better if they wore white gloves and hats. It’s nice to know that either one is acceptable. It’s nice to know that moms are so free around here that they can even take off and ride horses while having conversations on suburban sidewalks.
But still, I can’t help but watch these women and wonder what they look like when their kid is old enough to throw their hands down, lean forward and scream like a monkey. Will they still look as collected and professional as they do at the park pushing their fancy strollers? Will they still smile sweetly and gush over little Preston and Sophia then?
I’m sure they will. With lipstick on.
I, on the other hand, will jump on my horse and gallop away as fast as I can. Maybe I’ll come back when it’s TV time again.