Today it rained, and rained, and rained. Since I live in the desert, that is a huge deal. Perhaps a rainy day may be synonymous with sadness sometimes, but in the middle of the summer, in the desert, it is a miracle. My kids and I sat out on the porch and watched it. We just sat and watched the water fall from the sky and the gutters overflow. Well, it's not too long before the kids just can't take it any more. First an arm, then a leg, then the whole body dancing in the rain. My first impulse was to stop them - if they get drenched I'll have to change clothes and do laundry....but I checked my self-preservation instinct and sat back to enjoy the show. They then moved on to the overflowing gutter running swift with rainwater. Big alarms here, right? Children should not play in dirty gutters on the side of the street! Again, I checked myself, watched vigilantly for cars in the distance, and let the dams get built, the leaves race, and the glorious splash dances ensue. Childhood perfection.
Last night, while trying to get the kids to bed, the baby started making goofy squealing noises that set the kids off giggling. Once it started, it got completely out of control. Trying to stop it was like trying to roll back the tide. I would just get everyone quieted down, then one would do that holding-back-the-giggle-snort, or the baby would squeal, and everyone would explode all over again. As a good parent, I must get them to bed. I must control! Except it got to me too. Suddenly I was giggling just as hard, which made my husband finally lose it too, and there we were, a whole shaking, jiggling, rolling-on-the-ground mass of giddy.
Lesson learned from these two seemingly unrelated instances? Let it be, sometimes. I try so hard to do all the right parenting things, taking my kids to the zoo, to the children's museum, to Disneyland.... so that they will be well-rounded and have a full childhood. But sometimes it is too organized, too planned, too artificial. Sometimes the fullest moments of childhood are organic and spontaneous - despite the mess, chaos, and extra work involved. The payoff is miraculous, because those times that I override my adult brain turn into magical moments - the ones that crystalize and become precious gems that I wouldn't trade for anything on this earth!!