We often walk the fifty or so yards from our home to a small neighborhood park. It is a trip we’ve taken hundreds of times and hundreds ever since the kids could barely walk. Oh, maybe we’d take a push cart or wagon when they were new walkers and the distance to the end of our driveway was enough to wear them out. But nine times out of ten, we walk.
We follow the kids’ lead where we might put our fingers in that crack in the concrete where the earth has settled, feel the softness of the bark a dying tree, behead an earthworm, touch the wheels of a parked fire truck, feel the bumpiness of rocks or the stickiness of a pine cone, chasing the black birds in the grassy lot across from the church, bark back at the dog in the neighbor’s window, peek around for lizards that have scampered into the ground cover. Sometimes, it might take forty minutes just to get to the park.
Sometimes? Sometimes, we don’t get there at all.
So you can imagine that after five straight days of raining, we were all ready to get out of the house, even if there was standing water everywhere, an event that caused my partner and mother to want to keep the kids’ feet planted firmly on sidewalk.
But it was me, the Classic Type A Personality, the ENFJ, that announced to my mom and partner, “let them splash!, so what? We have a perfectly functioning washing machine just inside the house.”
(Granted, I had Type A motivations: sensory experiences and neural pathways and the hopes that it would help get them tired before dinner and bed. But, more importantly,) they loved the mystery of it all – the sound of a splash, how the water sleeps and then thrashes when stepped upon, the coolness of the water between the fingers, the heaviness of wet clothes, the changing color from clear to brown, the grittiness of mud.
And as one moment in a collection of moments, we remembered: we remembered being kids, we remembered uninhibited play, the encouragement to try something new, and the security of knowing that our parents would make us warm and dry again.
So today, I am thankful for the unintended consequence of my twins – that I’ve become more patient, more forgiving, that they’ve reminded me to be a kid, allowing me the freedom to be struck by awe and wonder at the simplest things around me.
Rachel is the birth mom of a two-working-mom household to 21 month old boy/girl twins that can now open the gate at the bottom of the stairs. This is a problem. She blogs over at Motherhood.Squared