Friday, February 10, 2012

Oh Happy Day

It was normally a chance she didn’t take. She’d done it a handful of times when she was practically a baby, but she was several months older now, and I bet onlookers assumed fear held her captive. But I knew better. I knew from her tiny grin and the sparkle in her deep blue, long-lashed eyes, that she simply wasn’t interested in leaving her high post with its spectacular view. Instead, she looked down with exhilaration on those she normally looked up to.

“You gonna go down?” I prodded from the foot of the wet slide, even though I knew the answer. This was all a game to her, and an impatient line was forming. I wished the neighborhood kids would scat. I told them she was too cold to come down as I picked her up and out of their way.

I was cold. I wanted to bury my hands into my coat pockets and watch her frolic on solid ground from the park bench. Instead, I found myself, like usual, shadowing her from below, worried that if I even took a moment to blink, a big kid would knock her off a platform that was only party railed, and she’d come crashing into the bark. I’m sure it would have been more effective to climb the stairs and really hover, but who loves to be the helicopter mom?

I was looking to head back inside in 15-minutes tops. And that I did, my emotions bouncing between feeling pretty awesome for bringing them outside in the cold at all, and feeling pretty lame for wrapping things up so quickly.

But out of nowhere, a few days later, February brought us a small dose of spring-like weather. I’m always amazed at how quickly a bright day can rejuvenate me. We happily made plans to have a picnic lunch at a park we hadn’t been to since the summer.

As I pulled in, the kids squealed when they saw the monstrous metal slide that gives this park its only bragging rights.

The swings and several other doodads had been uprooted since our last visit, but it was no matter. The big blue slide was still there. I wasn’t really thinking about the slide when I chose our destination. This park was just conveniently located. I hesitated to unbuckle them, thinking about how hard it was going to be to keep Magnolia off that thing with its near-vertical, 13-step ascent. And what’s worse than bark for a crash-pad landing? Rocks.

I opened the car doors and let them loose anyway. And sure enough, she zeroed in on the slide quicker than I could get our stuff to the picnic table.

I ran after her, helped her all the way up the steps and then quickly plopped her in my lap so we could go down together. That was the first of many rounds of fun. I gradually backed off a bit, only following her up the stairs and letting her slide on her own. Before long I’d only stand behind the ladder to make sure she didn’t fall on her upward trek. The next thing I knew, I was in my happy place taking pictures of our beautiful day.

The weather felt glorious. My skin devoured the Vitamin D as the sun did its number on us, and I could literally feel my spirit lift at its warmth.  My kids were all happy, in their carefree, this-is-the-best-day-ever, state. We had the park to ourselves. I’m pretty sure Magson got a tan. And the thrill in Magnolia's eyes as I watched her take a chance and go down that enormous slide again and again, each time getting more and more daring, was so satisfying.

In the lull of winter, you need days like that once in awhile--- days when you feel on top of the world.


  1. Ooh, looks like it was the perfect day :) sweet juju is oh so gorgeous.

  2. this is such a cute post! I love the pictures and the story. Juju is hilarious!! Such a brave girl! Looks like a wonderful day at the park. I wish we lived closer so that we could all go to the park together. (and take pictures haha)

  3. Hooray for a sunny fun-day in midwinter!

  4. Beautiful writing, beautiful pictures. That was the nicest day....and so needed. We went to Sehmel Park that day and rode bikes around and around and around.

  5. Love it! Way to capture those milestones!

  6. You will be so happy you wrote about this! I love it!! What a sweet and brave girl.=)

  7. Love your writing and the pictures!!!

  8. I honestly cannot wait for it to warm up! Especially after reading this post! So cute, Marie! :)




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