Thursday, December 13, 2018

"Day-After Connection"

There was a bonus “Connecting Moment” after our recent deluge where the “walls” abruptly came down and everyone suddenly said “Good morning” to me during my postponed “Thursday Walk” the subsequent Friday.  

I spoke before of a “universal bonding.”  And I mean without exception.  A walked puppy signaled, “Had I the Power of Speech, you’d have received a cheerful ‘Good morning’ from me as well.  But check out my articulate dog-thoughts, communicated only via a look.”

Beyond that surprise thawing exuberance, however, there was this other fragmentary moment, supplementing my “Post-Downpour Experience.”

Here’s what happened.

As I proceed home, carrying my “double-cupped” Groundwork “Venice Blend” pour-over, I spot a young mother accompanying her pre-school-aged son, heading in my direction.  And when I see what they’re up to, I know exactly what’s going on.

The previous rainstorm had left some sizable puddles dotting the sidewalk.  Walking to pre-school, the mother, clasping his hand, had deliberately slowed down, so her son could enjoy the exquisite – and, in Los Angeles, rare – pleasure of sloshing noisily through those gathering puddles.

As I walk towards them, the mother and I exchange knowing looks, my look saying, “I’ve been there”, her return look saying, “It’s fun being a parent.”

We then move off in opposite directions.  But not before that identifying interlude revived a long-ago parallel experience, involving my, then, same-aged daughter Anna.

Having driven 3 year-old Anna to her nearby pre-school, I park the car at a pharmacy parking lot across the street.  Unbuckling her and helping her out of the car, we walk hand-in-hand towards the awaiting pre-school.

As we proceed, I note our traversing parking lot is liberally puddled, due to a powerful rainstorm the night before.  (It rained a lot more here back then.)  At that point, I insistently feel “The Call.”

It is time for my my daughter’s initiation into the traditional “Rain-Puddle Rite of Passage.”

It is a “Dad’s Duty.” And I’d be darned if I negligently fell down on the job.

“Anna,” I inquire, applying no pressure in either direction.  “Would you like you walk in the puddles?”

“Can I, Daddy?”

“You bet.  You see a big puddle?  It’s a ‘Kid’s Job’ to walk in it.”

Eager to engage in this bold, somewhat renegade experience, Anna clomps in her bright yellow rain boots towards the nearest rain-bequeathed puddle, splashingly entering its watery terrain.

I am not sure why, but I found myself walking a little ahead of her.  Maybe because pre-school was imminently about to begin.  Maybe because I was an adult and naturally took bigger steps.  Maybe because I was a Dad and therefore oblivious to… everything. * 

(* I made sure there were no endangering cars around, so I am not a complete idiot.)

At the time, however, I think my conscious intention was, “Let her enjoy this joyful experience alone.” 

That’s what Iwould have wanted, so that’s what I allowed her.

An unfettered 3 year-old “Splash-athon.”

That mother, holding her son’s hand, apparently fearing some puddle-borne riptide, was, to me spoiling the adventure.  At least that’s what I thirty years earlier believed. 

As we continue along, I hear a familiar confused-with-a-touch-of-alarm-sounding voice breaking the early day silence.


I immediately turn around…

And there’s Anna, frozen in a deeper than anticipated puddle-in-the-parking lot, the accumulated water substantially topping her now submerged bright yellow rain-boots.

I immediately race over, scoop her up and carry her back to the car, where I remove her water-filled boots and puddle-drenched leggings.  I then start the car, driving home for replacement clothing, before returning a cleaned-up Anna, somewhat belatedly, to pre-school.  

I may have laughed at this harmless yet harrowing incident, but hopefully, just to myself.  Though Anna was more startled than distraught, I did not think it the right moment for learning the tickling pleasures of physical comedy.

You know, it isfun being a parent.

Even when the consequences require a sudden emergency change of wardrobe. 

Hopefully, when the girl’s Mom’s not around, and she never finds out.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Bravo let kids be kids, cuz it won't be long before she's attached to an electronic device or 2.