The other night we took the boys to the splash park for the first time this year. The park was incredibly busy. There were at least 40 kids on the splash pad and another 40 – 50 on the playground, which meant each area had a decent-sized crowd of parents standing or sitting around the perimeter, if not meandering between the two. Everywhere where you looked there was a child or a person and everywhere you walked you were trying not to bump into anyone or plow over a kid.
Matty, being one of the youngest kids on the splash pad, wound through the crowd, diving between legs, crawling around busy feet and bouncing off of the wet bottoms or bellies of older children. There were kids fully dressed (and fully soaked), kids in swimwear and kids in underwear. There were big kids and little kids and kids in between. There black kids, white kids and kids in between. There were well-behaved kids and not-so-well behaved kids and kids who took things to the extreme. And There were grandparents, parents and a range of guardians in between.
As I stood on the perimeter of the splash pad, snapping photos and relishing in the moments when the breeze would pick up and send a light, cool mist in my direction, I couldn’t help but feel the beauty of the moment. I think this is a mom thing. The sound of kids screaming in surprise and laughing in unison. The brightness on everyone’s faces was more than just the reflection of light shimmering off the water, sweat and sunscreen that covered everything, it was calmness, relaxation and release. The open exchanges and shared smiles between strangers. The fast and fleeting friendships between kids of varying ages, skin tones, dialects and backgrounds. The literal closeness of everyone. The warm glow of the setting sun melting over the entire park.
I couldn’t help but feel a bond to this beautiful, albeit fleeting, village. Any other day later in the summer in 95+ degree heat, this moment might have been overwhelming and left me in a terrible mood but not on this day. On this day, we were all there to greet summer with welcome arms, relish in our children’s’ youth and rejoice in the completion of another day.
I used to live for beer garden season. Now I live for splash park season.
And I wouldn’t change a thing.