Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Signs of Summer

Summer is beginning to peek up around us: the first ice cream run, sprinklers in full swing, me wanting to be outside in spite of uninterrupted sneezing. Today, Grammy came over to play and, in true Grammy-fashion, played hard. With summer-like temperatures egging them on, those girls went on two walks and multiple trips to the playground, with breaks for playing inside the house in between. Once Jason got home, and the ice cream he brought along devoured, it was out to the sprinklers for round two.

Now we are all a bit tired. That good, sun-soaked, arms-and-legs-heavy-from-outdoor-work-or-play tired. But from the squeals and splashes being emitted from behind the shower curtain Audrey is using for some bath time hide-and-seek, you could never tell. And while the adults feel like we need to tuck in early for bed to recoup, something tells me that when that sun peeks out tomorrow and warms our bare arms, we'll be up for a replay.

I should sign off here and finish bath time, but I can't look at this sprinkler picture without recalling a little story from our morning. This morning was the last meeting of a neighborhood Bible study I've been attending. One of the neighbors, whose backyard butts up to mine, told a story about seeing Audrey playing outside last week in the rain. She had just sat down to lunch with her children when they noticed Audrey outside by herself, running through the rain, splashing at the water in the wheelbarrow, and riding her bike: soaked-to-the-bone and loving every minute. Her children were concerned, and she assured them that I was surely watching from the window. So they watched and laughed, and my neighbor retold this story to our other neighbors about how great it was to see Audrey having so much fun (and me letting her have so much fun).

Of course, this is when I had to make my confession. You see, that's the day I found out Audrey was quite adept at opening our patio door, all by herself. I had just finished a load of Audrey's laundry that day, and finding her occupied in some task, I thought it safe to run the clothes upstairs to her room. Then I heard her yell, "Mama, I'm all wet." Thinking she meant she had a wet diaper, I went to find her. She met me halfway, looking like the victim of an all-day dunking booth extravaganza, Emmy playing her fur-drenched side-kick. I remember thinking that if any of the neighbors had witnessed this, they must think I'm a horrible mother. I changed her into dry clothes, told her she could never go outside without telling me first, retrieved the lone shoe still collecting rain on the patio, and counted my blessings that she was perfectly fine.

This morning, hearing the story from my neighbor, I was able to laugh about it for the first time. Then I told the ladies about my own mother, who let me play in the dirt pile outside of our newly-built house, or out in the woods just beyond (of course, I was much older than two), until mud and grit covered every inch of me. When it was time for me to come home, I would, excited by the day's adventures, not wishing to spend my days any other way. I would follow the newspaper trail (constructed by my mother) to the bathroom where I stripped down to clean up before dinner. The next day, I would head out again, she'd construct a new newspaper trail, and I would feel like the luckiest kid on the block.

Maybe, the next time it rains, I'll open the door for Audrey.

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