Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Water. It bathes us, it baptizes us, it nourishes our earth and we drink it. Water.

However, for a child water is play time. My belief is that the kids play in the womb all those months before birth and already know how much fun it is to splash around in a liquid world. So is it any wonder that when placing a small one in a swimming pool or bath tub, water is splashed and giggling begins. Water.

What child doesn't love to run through a sprinkler? I certainly remember the few times Dad placed the sprinkler in the yard, and I delighted in dashing through the cold water. As the water spun around, we  jump over it.

Squirt guns, slip and slides, fountains, a hot summer rain shower, all excuses for fun. All ways to keep children entertained for hours. One wet child seems to draw others from all over the neighborhood. Running from house to house, sprinkler to sprinkler. Summer fun = water.

Why as we grow older does it seem like work to participate in running through the sprinkler or splashing in the pool with the kids? Parents surround the pool watching their children but miss out on the fun of making memories in the water. The pool babysits while the parents are immersed in their conversation, books or summer snooze.

"Grammy, will you come over and swim?" my granddaughter asks. Well, for starters, I hate swimming and cannot swim even though I have taken swimming lessons. My eyes burn from the chlorine and my skin itches. So do I do it for them or sit on the side for me?

A similar question arose when my granddaughter played softball and the other team didn't show up. It was decided that the girls would play the parents. When asked who would play, of the parents looked away or just flatly declined. Much to my granddaughter's delight, I was on my feet and on the way to the dugout. Did I want to? Not really. My hands hurt with arthritis and my knees ache, but I can sit and watch later when I'm really old and decrepit. This was important for her and me.

So what is it that keeps that inner child at bay? Where do we lose the fun in running through the sprinkler and begin sitting on the sidelines?

"Mom, will you ever grow up?" my children ask. Gee, I hope not. Sometimes sitting on the side watching is wonderful. Every child needs an audience, but time and time again, my girls and I remember the silly times we have had and enjoy the revisiting them again and again.

Water. A cold child wrapped in a towel hugged by a loving parent or grandparent. Water wiped from the sides of a wet bathtub splashed from a playful tot. A baby clinging to a grownup who lovingly introduces them to a swimming pool. Dodging a squirt of water from an overzealous child with a water pistol.

Water. It blesses us, it nourishes us, it binds us together.


  1. I don't like to swim, but I love my water aerobics class. It's just playing in the water without getting water in my nose and eyes. But my assessment of children in general and grandchildren in specific is that they would rather have an audience than a playmate.

  2. Today I took the girls swimming. They wanted me to play in the water with them. I had forgotten my suit so couldn't. Soon I was judging water ballets and swim competitions. Involvement in any way is important.