Remember when we used to skip instead of walk? Our feet freeing us from the mundane moments of our day, lifting us closer to the swirl of clouds above whose shape more often resembled a dragon than a mouse. Remember when we would slip our hand into our parent’s warm, reassuring grip, and hold on tightly while our worries would quietly let go? Remember at night when our head would come to rest softly on our pillow, and our body would only start to unwind once our blankets were carefully tucked in around us? Remember how candy used to taste magical, and ice cream could make or break the day? Remember the sharp sting of water against our legs when the sprinklers were suddenly turned on, and the laughter and shrieks that would burst forth with the kind of exhilaration that we haven’t seen since the days our knees were scuffed and our hair held the promise of the outdoors? Remember the joy, the ease and the freedom to be in the moment, to feel the excitement of the wind, and the discovery of our imagination in the sand? Remember the beauty of our innocence, and the memories of our childhood? Remember when life was more than just this?
Yesterday I took my two year old daughter swimming at the Wave Pool. It was her first time being there when the waves came on (usually we go during the leisure swim time). If you have ever been to a wave swim before, you know that they sound an alarm before the waves begin, so it can be quite startling if you aren’t expecting it. When my daughter first heard it, her eyes grew wide, and she inched closer to me. I explained what was about to happen, but she looked somewhat skeptical about the whole process.
Then the water began to move. We watched as it slowly began to swell and roll toward us. My daughter grabbed my hand and started pulling me toward the shallow end. I thought she wanted to leave, but instead, she stopped to watch as the waves crashed onto the steps; an explosion of water dancing before our eyes. She looked up at me, her eyes in full-on sparkle mode, and said, “This is SO COOL!!” Then she turned around and pulled me back into the pool. When she was about thigh deep in the water, she raised her fist in the air and shouted, “YEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!” (which I suppose is the traditional battle cry of her people), and began trying to jump over and into the waves.
She was so completely lost in the moment, so thoroughly consumed with the raw joy of the experience, that it made me realize how far removed I had become from my own joyful moments in life. These days, life has become such a jumbled rush that the simple moments, the ones that sometimes need the most attention, don’t shine the way they used to. They get taken for granted and sometimes missed altogether. I need to remind myself to slow down again, and to start getting excited about the little things. Or, better yet, I need to learn the battle cry of my people, and turn to splash through the waves with my daughter by my side.