Dancing in the Sprinkler
My 22-month-old grandson figured out the direct correlation between how far he turns the water spigot on the house to the left, and how high the water shoots up from our circular sprinkler. He loves seeing the water spray high into the air, arc and then cascade in a circle to the ground; this child is so curious about how things work. But the higher water pressure created a conundrum for him: to step over the sprinkler, which he loves to do, he was faced with water droplets falling on his face and hair. He wasn’t sure how to feel about that.
Watching this, I step up to the sprinkler and wave my hands around in the water, It’s fun! The water feels refreshingly cool in the warm sun. It tickles my skin. I laugh out loud. My grandson imitates me. He grins big, a smile that comes straight up from the center of his small being. He, too, laughs out loud.
I think: I could step in and remember how sprinklers feel! Other thoughts surface: You have a dress on. Your hair will get wet and need to be redone. Your makeup will be ruined. And yet, some part of me knows: Who cares? Clothes can be dried. The little guy could care less about my makeup. Should thoughts about hair and make-up be a reason to miss this?
So in I go, dress, makeup, dry hair and all. The water is cold, and I shriek. I throw my arms in the air and watch as the sun glints off the water droplets. It is as if there is a fountain of diamonds around me. This beauty amazes me and I laugh out loud. The pint-sized boy across from me steps into the sprinkler. The cold startles him at first and then he does a happy dance with his feet. And there we are dancing in the sprinkler in the backyard of my house in Phoenix: a 65-year-old curvy woman, in a dress, complete with wrinkles and age spots, and a hazel-eyed, long-limbed toddler, in a diaper and t-shirt, with tiny nicks and dings from various explorations. When the moment is over, I go to him, scoop him up in my arms in a bear hug and whirl him around. His little arms encircle my neck and his head tucks into my shoulder. We are alive together. We are love. Such moments are what life is for.
This big, beautiful crazy aliveness slides into ordinariness. I feed him a lunch of chicken, black beans, buttered penne pasta and fruit. He shares his raspberries (no small thing as they are his favorite fruit!) giggling helplessly as I make a big deal out of how good they are. “Hmmmmmmmm!”
And then, it’s nap time. He grabs his bink (pacifier) and heads to my bedroom. We follow our ritual of pulling the drapes and turning on the fan. He climbs into the welcoming, king-sized bed. In less than a minute, his soft arms cuddling me, he is blissfully asleep against my shoulder.
He breathes quietly. I listen closely, in awe of this tiny miracle of life who opens so much joy to me and others. I am grateful to witness his life. I am grateful his Mama and Papa created the gift of this little boy. I am grateful, that as a Grammy, I once again get to experience the joy of loving and nurturing a child.
It comes to me that because I am listening with presence in this moment, even his Grandpa Jim, who is no longer with us, can hear the breath of God dancing through his grandson. Somehow. I know that through my awareness, Grandpa Jim shares in this exquisite thing: the sheer joy of being Grammy.