Actually Owen noticed it first. We were driving by and he said, "Look there's a new water park!" And since I'm a great mom I said, "No, I don't think so sweetie." (I looked over and saw orange construction fencing from where they'd torn down the old dilapidated play equipment and though nothing more.) Of course, then I came to hear they had built a splash park. Oh well.
So we took the boys on Friday, thinking they'd enjoy it. We could hear the sound of happy children as we walked up from our car.
Jonas was very excitedly looking around. I pulled his t-shirt and sandles off and set him on his own two feet. He looked around surveying the squealing children with a huge grin on his face. Then he set off to join the fun.
He took three steps on the slick wet surface and his feet slipped out in front of him and he landed flat on his back, smacking his head on the ground. He cried and cried.
And my heart ached and ached.
Watching that moment change from exultation to despair was almost too much for me to handle.
He spent the rest of the time at the park like this, clinging tightly to mom and dad, breaking my heart.
Children are born so innocent and free. They have no reservations, no fears. They act with their whole body and spirit.
But life is hard.
Watching Jonas cling tightly and close himself off from the experience made me think of how many more experiences like this he will encounter in his life. How many more times he will jump feet-first into something only to be burned. Only to be told he is not welcome or his ideas are not appreciated there.
My fears for him, of course, born of my own experience.
It tears me apart to think of the struggles he will go through in his life. The pains he will endure, and how his little spirit will be affected. How he will learn to hold himself back, and not display all his feelings, protecting himself from failure and rejection. . .
Oh, the pains of parenthood.
The following morning we attended a pool party. I feared a repeat of the previous day, worrying that Jonas would miss out on the opportunity.
But the resiliency of children is astounding, and he showed me.
Life is good Mom, everything will be fine.
I have my own life to live, just as you lived yours. You can't protect me from everything.
I will get hurt, I will face trials. What I need from you is unconditional love. I need you to be there to support me. I need to know that you are there, for me to cling on to and bury my face in whenever I feel I need it. But that will be just what I need to be able to go out and face the world another day.
And we will grow. Through the experience, both of us becoming more compassionate, more faithful, more Godlike. For "when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Cor. 13, 11-12)
Don't worry my Mother. Be at peace. The Lord God is ever mindful of us.
Thank you my son, for a beautiful lesson.
And my love for you grows every day.