Ever have those moments where the universe bludgeons you over the head with symbolism? Where you’re left saying “Yeah OK, I get it. Sheesh!” but are secretly grateful for the boot up the bum to remind you of what you already knew?
Yeah, I had one of those yesterday.
It had been a hellishly hot and humid day, where we didn’t so much walk home from school as swim through the haze. Once home we stripped down and flopped in front of fans, too listless to do anything beyond eat iceblocks and watch a movie.
A thunderstorm was forecast and sure enough the sky got darker and darker, taking on a slightly green tinge. I gratefully opened up the house to let the wild winds gust through and blow away the stored heat until – finally! – fat raindrops started to fall. The girls and I rushed out to the front porch to watch the lightning and dash about in the rain for a bit before the thunder became too scary for my little miss and we went back inside for dinner.
It was still light when the storm passed so we got our gumboots on to go splash in the massive puddles out on the sidewalk. Now I enjoy a good splash as much as the next person but the sheer exuberance with which my girls assaulted that puddle just took my breath away. Every scattered drop was delightful, every damp leaf fascinating, every run and jump a new opportunity to make an even bigger splash.
I joined in for a little while but eventually just stood back to soak up their energy and bask in their happiness. We live right near a train station so every now and then my oldest would say “Stop! Someone’s coming,” and shoo her little sister off to the side while people walked past. Every single passerby lit up to see these two excited, wet, muddy girls in gumboots. They saw the same thing I did.
Joy. Pure, unmediated, unadulterated joy.
Kids – and especially little kids – really do make the best teachers. Instinctively we know the lessons they teach us, but our stupid grown-up brains need the constant reminders.
Seize the moment. Truly live in and enjoy it while it lasts.
Storms can be scary, so don’t be afraid to cuddle someone who helps you feel safe and seek shelter and sustenance until it passes.
Once the skies start clearing, look for the nearest puddle and throw yourself at it with gleeful abandon. Jump again and again and push yourself further for even bigger and better results.
Joy shared is joy doubled. The more people you share your joy with the bigger it gets.
Falls happen. You can choose to be upset or show your muddy bottom to your friends and share an extra laugh. Clothes can be washed (or replaced!) and faces wiped, after all.
And boots filled with water can be an annoyance or an opportunity for giggling over squelchy sounds and pouring games.
Silver linings are pretty and all, but muddy puddles are more FUN! Always look for the fun.