Splish, splash: Soaked in joy

When I pick up our boys from school, we have just enough time to get home, change clothes, eat a very quick snack, perform a magic trick our second grader just learned, find our kindergartener’s baseball glove and cleats, grab a few light sabers just in case we need them, get back in the car, and make it to baseball practice.
Just an ordinary evening.
Practice is fun, especially when my husband joins us at the field before taking our older son home. Thanks to rain, rain, and more rain, this team hasn’t played much baseball this season. But the players have learned a few things along the way, and I really enjoy watching them play.

When practice is over, our 6-year-old comes running over to me. We gather his glove and his water bottle, and we head for the car. He chatters on about baseball and a prickly plant we see and a dog nearby and a little strawberry he finds in the grass. But what he’s most interested in is a little stream of some water run-off sliding past us on the concrete.
“Are there fish in there?” he asks, and I explain that there aren’t because it is rain water that has run through people’s yards and streets and sidewalks and now is running down to the bay.
He wants to get in the water.
“Just my shoes, Mama?”
I don’t think it’s a great idea, but I don’t express that clearly. Instead, I get pulled into a conversation with a friend who waves hello, and the next thing I know, our little guy is stepping carefully into the water. Then he’s running…and stomping…and jumping.
And I don’t stop him. You wouldn’t either because he’s having the time of his life.
He’s smiling and laughing. His pants are wet to his knees and his shoes and socks are soaked through, but he’s giggling and dancing in the water with complete joy.
“You are so wet!” I say, but he can see that I’m smiling. Nothing I can say will spoil this experience. And I just relax and let him be himself.
Because after our hectic day, a day of schedules and running behind, this is finally our time. No one is telling us we need to be somewhere. And my little boy is happy as can be to have a few minutes of messy play, doing just what he does best.
So he plays in the water. He ends up soaked. I have to remove half his clothes to get him in the car to go home. And, even as I’m struggling to pull his wet socks off his feet, he’s still laughing.
Baseball practice? That was fun. But getting wet in the coolest puddle he has found? That will be hard to top.
And some days, especially when you’re busy and your time doesn’t seem to be your own, you need a puddle to splash in. I hope you can find one to enjoy today.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.