The sun is beating down on my sweater-clad arms and I’m wishing I hadn’t worn my winter boots today. It’s 17 degrees (or 62F for my American pals) and it’s a glimpse into the spring to come. It’s only going to last a couple of days, but it’s a welcome solace from the chilled, snowy themes of February the remnants of which can be seen in piles of snow scattered along the path.
The Bean and I are taking what has become our regular walk through Mead Park in New Canaan. This park has become our haunt because despite there being many beautiful walking trails in our local area many of them feel too lonely for me to feel comfortable walking alone with a baby in tow. Even though we live in one of the safest towns in America, I feel vulnerable along those lonely paths just me and the bean. Maybe it’s because I know I couldn’t run should anyone threaten us or maybe I’m just a protective new mum…
As we walk I realize the sun is beating down on the little man’s face. The ‘mum guilt’ sweeps over me and I quickly pull up the visor! ‘Mumming’ I’m learning, is a constant state of joy, frustration, exhaustion, and worry sometimes all at once.
At the far end of the park, next to the playing fields, there are parks for the kids. One for toddlers and another for the older children. There’s also a small and quaint ice cream stand and I know I’ll be bringing the bean here in the spring and summer months. I can’t imagine him being so big yet, but when I look back at photos of him as a newborn I’m dumbfounded by how much he’s grown.
We continue our walk up through the streets and onto the main drag. New Canaan is a beautiful town filled with quirky cafes and restaurants and designer clothes stores. New Canaan is a haven for the wealthy, but it exudes a grounded charm that continues to draw me back walk after walk.
However, like most towns I’ve been to in the U.S., it’s streets are lined with cars and people think nothing of a parking lot view – something Brits would work hard to avoid!
We end our meander in one of my favourite cafes. Surprisingly to me, it’s a chain cafe that also exists in the UK. I like to think of myself as someone who roots for the independent dwellers, but I guess it reminds me of my European roots. Le Pain is our resting spot of choice.
One of the servers knows me there now and peers her head round to tell me to ‘say hi to your mum’ while I FaceTime her as the Bean sleeps.
I spot a sign suggesting visitors put down the technology while they eat and engage in conversation for a free lunch reward. I wonder how many people take them up on the offer.
Feeling refreshed and caffeinated, we go back the way we came and end with a breastfeeding session in the car. something I’ve become accustomed to over the last few months. Sometimes I feel brave enough to whip the boobs out in public, but today I wanted to retain some modesty. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.