I dipped my feet into the pool water; it was humid outside but the sun was hidden behind grey clouds. And I watched my children jump fearlessly, flips and cannonballs, arms flailing and laughter ringing. They held their breath, bubbles surfacing, daring to see who could stay under the ripples longest. Soon they swam my way, splashing and spraying. There was nowhere to hide from their direct aim.
And this is usually when the excuses begin to roll. I’m not joining you today because I need to stop somewhere on the way home or it’s just not hot enough or I don’t want to get my hair wet. And even though I don’t often mouth the words, I say it nonetheless.
I choose to watch you from the sidelines.
I choose not to participate.
Maybe it was guilt or maybe I just needed to be different on that day, but I tiptoed into the too cool water. I walked down the first step, watching the clear blue stream up my ankles. And then it was two more steps until I bent my knees, held my breath and went under. And when I came up, my hair was flat and stringy and smelling of on sale shampoo. But my son was there, smiling. He’d been waiting, probably longer than I realized for me to wade in.
Summers seem to benchmark these days of children growing. Maybe it’s the wooden Popsicle sticks, stained red and purple and sometimes blue, stacked beside my kitchen sink. Or maybe it’s the striped beach towels blanketing front porch rocking chairs. But it’s in these few months when the sun lingers overhead stretching out its rays, handing that sacred gift we as mothers so often need, more light, more time. And the warm glow invites us to walk barefoot with these little ones, these children of ours who share pieces of our own personality. And thankfully, God hands us just a few more moments to invest and enjoy in this fleeting season.