The Healing Puddle

It was late in the day.  I finally decided I should change out of my pajamas and into something appropriate.  The day seemed nice.  I decided we would take a walk.  At the sound of the word, Marlee impatiently waited by the door.  She grabbed a toy to play with outside and carefully stepped over the threshold, reminding me how well she can do things on her own now. How is it we’re just now breathing this fresh air?  The sun shone cheerfully in the clear blue skies, soft cool wind blew against our skin, the signs of Fall just barely showing: crunchy brown leaves strewn across the sidewalks, trees beginning to be bare.  We go about our usual way of walking.  She holds my hand and we walk down the sidewalk, she is barefoot and I in my sandals.  I begin to take in the day.  Our neighborhood is nothing fancy but on days like this I believe it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  The trees dance a little in the wind, leaves fall, I breathe in the welcome cool air, everything is bright and perfect.  I needed this today.  I forget how healing beauty is.

We keep walking, but there is always a place where we turn and cross the street.  This place on the sidewalk is littered with a layer of acorns and since we’re not big on wearing shoes, it hurts her tiny feet to walk on them.  Our street is quiet and we cross it, unhurried.  On the other side there is a place where the sidewalk is not level.  One piece of concrete juts into the air a couple of inches more than the piece next to it and perhaps because of that, a puddle of water is forever settled there.  A nearby tree sheds it’s yellow and brown leaves and they end up in the puddle too.  Marlee loves that puddle.  I have resigned to let her play in it whenever we come to it and so she eagerly steps in.  Not wanting to get wet or dirty myself, I watch her from behind splashing her feet in the shallow water, sinking her toes in and feeling the slightly muddy water with her hands.

This beautiful day just surrounds me.  I breathe in deeply.  I look up at this glorious Fall sky and watch a single leaf, wildly fluttering in the wind.  It spins and spins for a long time before finally soaring to the ground.  Today I felt like that leaf.  I just wanted to feel settled today, rested and calm, but instead I felt frustrated and tired.  It was one of those days I wished I could call in sick.  But who would I call?  Motherhood is a job that never ends and never rests and sometimes that thought overwhelms me.  But then I look at my daughter and I am once again overwhelmed with love by this beautiful child.  Her hair shines like gold in the sun.  Her milky skin is soft and warm.  I slip off my sandals and feel the cold concrete on my feet and remember how healing it is to touch the earth.  I am content.

Just then, as if somehow, she knew what I needed, my little girl backs up to where I am holding out her dirty, wet hand dotted with pieces of wet grass.  “Join me, mama,” it was if she was saying.  I looked at my clean hand but her took hers anyway and she leaded me into that dirty puddle of water.  I lifted my skirt a little so it wouldn’t get wet.  The water was much colder than I thought, but it felt good between my toes.  Fallen leaves swirled around my ankles; my daughter’s hand still in mine.  We walk in and out of that puddle leaving a trail of wet foot prints on the side walk.  A few neighborhood girls are walking towards us.  Marlee steps out of the way as they gingerly step over the puddle, but when they leave she wades right back in.

My frustrations are rinsed away in that cold puddle of water.  I smile at the simplicity of my daughter’s happiness and am reminded to be happy too.  Sometimes the days feel endlessly long, but I know, just like the falling of leaves and the changing of seasons, it will soon be over and I will wonder what happened to the days when all my daughter wanted to do was play in puddles of water.

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