We don’t have a swimming pool, but we don’t really need one. On a hot summer day, the boys are perfectly happy to run through the sprinkler and spray each other with the hose and float boats in the old wading pool and water the plants with the tin watering can that I used to have when I was young.
They call these afternoons “water parties.” I have to say, I enjoy them almost as much as the boys do. I grab a book and sit on the lawn furniture and watch them play, and I just want time to stop right here: on a summer afternoon when the boys are young and excited by something as simple as a wading pool and some old plastic toys, a lazy day when the sun is warm and the flowerbeds are vivid with color.
I will miss these moments very much someday. I’ll miss the boys filling old plastic Easter eggs with water and cracking them against the old Cool Whip container and pretending to bake a pie. I’ll miss the chuh-chuh-chuh of the oscillating sprinkler and the sight of my two boys, their hair plastered to their heads, holding hands and counting to three and running through it, screaming with joy. I love it, their energy and delight. I love their sweet enthusiasm and their imagination.
And though we’ve done countless water parties over the years, there is always something new to discover. On a hot Sunday afternoon earlier this summer, I saw Matthew take the plastic scuba diver and stick it in a bucket of water. He then took the diver out and, in the manner of a priest blessing the congregation, used it to fling drops of water all over the lawn. “It’s holy water!” he exclaimed joyfully.
As I looked on, he went around the yard, using the scuba diver and bucket to bless the flora all around him. “I bless you, tree!” he cried happily, raining an exuberant shower of drops on one of the small Japanese maples. “I bless you!” I watched him, my sweet oldest boy in his swim trunks and the swim shirt that is suddenly getting way too small for him, and something inside me said, This is a moment you’re going to remember.
I know that the water was not, strictly speaking, holy water. It didn’t matter. I still felt wholly blessed.