My first child, Becky, was an October baby.
As parents of fall babies know, once you’re out and about early winter weather becomes a big player. Dragging a two-month old out for a breath of fresh air in December is like making snowballs with your bare hands and liking it.
Even though I had a wonderful network of friends to lean on there were times when I simply wanted to take Becky out for a walk alone. I called it exercise but actually I needed to walk down the street with my baby and take in the world outside the confines of our four walls. I needed for just the two of us to breathe outside air, fresh or otherwise. But it was too damn cold.
Because I was an inexperienced mom, I only babysat once in my life, (my mother helped), I needed to prove to myself that on my own I could pack up and head out with my kid, without my husband, my mom or a friend as backup. But where? Where could I go to build my mom-confidence? It was below freezing.
I found the perfect place.
It was with great excitement, and only a little nervousness, I filled Becky’s diaper bag with a two days’ supply of every baby item needed and packed my car with a month’s worth of baby camping supplies. How I fit our ATV sized stroller into our Le Car is still a mystery to me. We were only going for a couple of hours but if I am anything I am prepared.
Got the car warmed up and off we trekked to the new mall in Waterford.
The Crystal Mall in Waterford, no I am not getting paid to write this, was the first BIG inside mall for us along the shoreline. Not only was it, and is it, a great center of commerce, it was and is, a great year round Main Street kind of place to walk and push a stroller.
On the first day Becky and I went to the mall I was a pack-horse mom lugging it all. I walked and stopped to gaze in the windows and loved when little old ladies peered in the stroller and smiled.
A short distance from the elevator, on a bench in front of what was originally a cookie store, I fed Becky her first mall bottle. When I think back to that moment of how warm, and safe and proud I felt and how lucky we were to have a place the two of us could go and enjoy the outside world, inside, it brings me to tears.
That day became the first of many. Eventually I went from the ATV stroller to an umbrella stroller to my little girl walking along side and following just as fast as her little legs could go. When our second baby Rachel came along I was a pro. Our supplies, a baby bottle and an extra diaper in my purse.
Just the other day I took my soon to be 3-year-old granddaughter to Waterford. She walked the entire length of the mall twice and spent some time in the little play area while I reminisced about how, with her mother over 30 years ago, I discovered the wonders a weather proof Mall Main Street.