Tonight after dinner, as we do most nights, Karl, Bruce and I went for an after dinner walk. We recently got Karl a canopied wagon and he LOVES riding in it, so we've been taking him for tours around our neighborhood little-red-wagon style. It is wonderful and hilarious to watch him get toted around this way because he looks regal. Our little dinosaur sits perched on his seat, under his canopy and I swear I hear fanfare in the background. Sometimes, as if he knows he looks like royalty, he even blows kisses to neighbors, bestowing upon them (his public) his love for them.
After planning on taking a modified route that specifically omitted a pass by our neighborhood park- for we learned the hard way that to walk a 15month old past his park and not go in to play is a lot like driving a 3year old up to the gates of Disney World and then turning the car around without going in- we made it to the end of the street beyond ours before a surprise torrential downpour changed our plans. We rushed home in big, fat, soaking rain and I couldn't help but laugh the whole way because Karl was squealing and giggling at the "Wain! Wain!" in pure delight. He was clapping his chubby little hands together, a big gooey grin over his face and his plump, long legs stomping on the floor of the wagon. To him, this downpour did not mean a ruined evening walk but it meant a hysterical surprise.
We rushed Karl in the house and dried him off and plopped ourselves down in the chairs we keep in our front window. Karl pulled the blinds of the window aside and began to giggle at the "Wet! Wet wain!" and a childish, devious and totally "un-mom like"thought popped into my head. Watching my son watch the big sloppy rain, I remembered how freeing it felt as a kid to play in the pouring rain. This wasn't a thunderstorm, there was no lightning...just a good soaking rain. I looked at Bruce and said "Do you remember playing in this kind of rain as a kid? How much fun it was? We should let him go play in it." Bruce looked at me and with a knee-jerk dad-style reaction he said "Nooo...we can't take him out there in this...he'll get too cold." I know though, that immediately after he said those words, the same devious little childish thought that crossed my mind visited his. He smiled and then looked at Karl, then at me and said "Well, okay... but go run a nice warm bath for him so we can warm him up as soon as he comes in." With that, I darted to the bathroom and turned on the faucet and then grabbed my camera.
Bruce took Karl to the front yard and let him go. What we witnessed was truly magical. This was little kid heaven. It brought me right back to being a little wild-haired girl who loved to romp in rain puddles. I don't think, until the very end when he was being carried back inside, that Karl stopped laughing for a single moment. Splashing barefoot through the wet green grass, his mouth agape, clapping his hands together he was having a blast. He was thrilled. Bruce ran in the grass with him, and Karl continually looked up at his daddy, unbelieving in how much fun he was having. My heart melted. I couldn't believe I was getting to vicariously live my childhood through my son already. The magnificent joy on his face was undeniable and palpable in my heart. Childhood is truly magical- even at its youngest and most tender stages.
Bruce and Karl moved into the depression of our driveway, where a Lake Okeechobee sized puddle had formed and he and Karl stomped and splashed and played in it. It was amazing to see Bruce, too, reliving his childhood in the rain with our son. Here he was, my 6'4'' husband, splishing and splashing in a puddle, something he hadn't done since he was a little boy himself. I have to say if I didn't have my camera in my hands to capture the moment, I would have joined them. I'm so glad I had the camera in my hands, though- despite the daggomme condensation that kept collecting on my lens- I got a few really sweet shots of a moment I won't ever forget.
I'm just left to wonder how motherhood can get any better- despite the fact that it does get better every single day. Of course, everyday has its own set of challenges, but honestly, everyday has these little shimmering-gem moments that make me wonder how I was ever really "alive" before I had my son. Fun isn't fun like it is when you've got a kid. As a parent, fun is getting to enjoy the actual moment yourself, but also getting to enjoy the moment through your kids' eyes, too. Fun is doubled for a parent. It's selfish, really, because I can't get enough of it- I can't wait to do the next fun thing with my son to see his reaction. It's selfish and blissful. I'm so lucky I get to be a mommy...
Until next time, folks, have fun like a kid- and if you're a parent- enjoy the fact that you get to have fun like one!!! I hope you get a pretty magical parenting moment soon, too!