Thank God I’m not the last one here, I thought, as I grabbed my mat and water bottle. There were two people who pulled in just ahead of me and we all went through the door at the same time and oh look, there’s my spot in the back of the room — there was no question about it, since it was only big enough for one yoga mat. Those other two people would probably want to find spaces next to each other, anyway, I reasoned, as I kicked off my shoes and made a beeline for the spot.
Ideally, I would have had more time to transition between chaos and serenity, but the school bus was on the late side that morning. I’d smiled and chattered amicably with my youngest (but truthfully my mind was elsewhere) while he showed me the tricks he could do with the wheeled backpack — the traveling compartment of “Butterscotch,” the class room teddy bear, and all his related paraphernalia — that he was returning to school after visiting at our house the night before.
My son had written a story and drawn a picture about his adventures with the bear just that morning, which was tucked in his homework folder in his other backpack, along with his football, lunch and Bruins sweatshirt.
Yes, he was carrying a heavy load, but I wasn’t offering a ride to school, just as I hadn’t for his sixth-grade brother, who had gingerly carried the model of the chlorine atom he’d painstakingly assembled during the previous two nights. Not that he didn’t ask (“what if someone bumps it!?”), it was just that this particular morning I had my own agenda.
I had a certain amount of work I needed to get done in order to feel okay about going to a 9 a.m. yoga class (even though my manager is well aware that I view yoga as an essential way to ward of the chiropractor and, likely, a psychiatrist as well), and shuttling kids to school was not on the to-do list.
They could take the bus. That is why we have buses. And if they don’t like the bus, they can walk (except not my youngest, because I don’t have time to walk with him and allowing him to walk alone would no doubt be scandalous, and truthfully, I’m not quite ready for that, even though I walked to school alone in a city when I was in second grade).
So after having insured my kids’ basic needs were met: breakfast, showers, teeth brushed, backpacks packed, lunch (money), it was my turn. I got settled in with really no time to spare, I’d have to sign in after class. At least I hope my oldest had breakfast. I made him a breakfast shake, but did he actually drink it? Wow, there sure are a lot of people in this class!
I glanced around as I sat “Indian-style.” Wait, I’m not sure that’s PC. I sat “criss-cross applesauce.” Usually I go to the Tuesday class but this was Thursday. I had to go to a meeting in Boston on Tuesday, for which I spent more than three hours driving in and out of the city. I just can’t imagine how people do that every day. I’d complained to my friend afterwards, “I see absolutely no reason why knowledge workers should have to show up at an office. Ever!” Though before I held the position I do today, I did spend three hours a day commuting between home, daycare and work.
I realized the woman on the mat next to me was someone who attended the same pilates class back when our kids were toddlers and there was affordable babysitting available for the duration of class (not that I hadn’t ever considered dropping them off for $1 each an hour and going shopping). “Hey, how are you?” I asked as I changed sitting positions to kneeling — my back was too stiff to sit cross-legged — just in time to begin deep breathing. How you are supposed to completely empty your mind and concentrate on your breath is beyond me. I did have a yoga teacher tell me once that she knew someone who could go for like eight breaths without a thought.
I hope my son made it to school okay with his atom. We’d spent a good deal of time (and money) two nights ago at the craft store, including researching the best way to color Styrofoam balls (hint: It includes food coloring and white glue) and then executing the procedure while I tried to cook dinner simultaneously, in addition to all the time he spent assembling it the night before.
Oh my gosh, was the woman in front of me the bodybuilder from the gym…the one I belonged to years ago — before kids — when I actually went to a gym every day as opposed to looking at the charge on my credit card statement and lamenting the average cost of each visit to the gym that month — yes, I could usually count them on one hand. Hmmmm, I wonder if she ever had kids. I wonder if I didn’t have kids, could I have a physique like that?
I think that conference call is at 11. I hope it’s not at 10:30 — I won’t have very much time to prepare after class … and when am I ever going to get those Christmas cards written out?
What would my life be like, never mind my physique, if I didn’t have kids? That reminded me of a question my oldest had asked me once that seemed flip at the time, “Mommy, what better things do you have to do than to do laundry and cooking and driving?” But he was too young for sarcasm; it was a serious question.
And I had no answer.
My mind had been as blank then as it was that day in class. I just couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have kids.
At last, I was ready for yoga.
The mother of three sons, Caroline Poser lives with her family in Groton. www.CarolinePoser.com.