The neighbors must have thought we were nuts.
NanaRoz stopped by, returning with the girls after an impromptu outing. They were armed with a stack of new library books, including a story about a little Japanese girl who makes origami animals. In true NanaRoz style, she had then found a ‘how to’ origami book to check out too. Following the theme, they went to the craft store; Maren had a packet of origami paper and Greta had a new coloring book AND new markers.
We sat on our back patio — our summer oasis — with the fan blazing because it was HOT. Greta bebopped around: in and out of her play house, filling up and pouring at the water table, showing me her markers.
As Maren and NanaRoz created little origami animals, I grabbed the hose to water my patio pots and soak some of my trees. I traipsed around the yard with the hose and smiled at the life-giving going on in my space.
The next thing I know, Greta sidled up to me stark naked. What’s a mama to do in this instant? I immediately turned the hose on her and she squealed with surprise and ran away.
And then, with a ginormous grin on her face, she came running back for more.
She continued near and far, near and far. In range, out of range, in range, out of range. She squealed with fake fear and giggled and she streaked through the wet grass. Her legs and mine were covered in wet grass clippings. At one point she ran around the whole house –through the front yard too– in case any neighbors had missed our antics.
Maren and Nana watched, laughing — laughing hard. Maren began asking for a turn with the hose, and I said, “Sure come and get it.” As soon as she got with in range, I soaked her. Everyone — including Maren — had to see that coming, right? She couldn’t decide whether to be furious or to play along like her sister. In an effort to have the fun win over the fury, I gave Greta the hose and shielded Maren with my body as we three ran around the yard. I was quickly soaked as Greta chased us. I was slow as I was lugging Maren with me and laughing so hard at how when Greta sprayed the hose by closing her fist over the opening, she got more water on herself than she did on anyone else. Nana wisely stayed near the brand new art supplies and the big bag of library things, otherwise she would have have been drenched, too. Maren had a turn with the hose, but when I “stole” it back from her, she was done. Greta and I continued for a little while as Nana soothed Maren’s hurt feelings.
It was a brilliant half hour. Yes, the neighbors thought we were nuts. But for that half hour I was the uninhibited mama I want to be. Daring my children to be fun, be silly and be wild. One extra load of laundry was the cost–so worth it.
Incidentally, this is the kind of mom NanaRoz was to me. She was the mom who threw us and played washing machine in the pool. She took us on creek walks wherein the ultimate measure of success was whether we had to throw away our muddy clothes at the end of the hike. (Success = dirty.) I’m like Maren–unsure about whether to do the wild things, but I’m always grateful when I go for it. The latest big one for me was when I braved the frigid water in Hawaii to swim under a waterfall with Brad. Sounds like a no brainer, right? But it was a calculated cost/benefit analysis for me–just the way I’m wired. I carpe diem-ed this day though. Win!
As I dripped dry on the patio and soothed Maren and high-fived Greta and winked at my mom, I was proud of us.
We’re doing today well.