My son stood in our backyard in his blue swim shorts, pouting beneath his red ball cap. Even though it was a beautiful, hot sunny day and the sprinkler was running a few feet away, he didn't want to go in the water. Not alone, at least.
I was standing next to the baby in her swing, she was grinning away, showing off her wide two-tooth grin. I gave her another push and her arms flailed in the air with glee.
After my baby's giggle-filled push, I walked over to my kiddo and grabbed his hand. Still pouting, he looked up at me, and I said, "Do you want to run through the sprinkler together?"
His face lit up with his big, bright smile. (I took this as a yes.) So we ran together and jumped through the water, both of us shrieking with delight. We laughed together as we turned back to do it again.
It didn't matter that I wasn't in my swimsuit. It didn't matter that the neighbors could hear me screeching (hey, the water was freezing!). What mattered was how we felt. My kid was having a blast. And I felt like a kid myself. In that moment, I was reminded of just how much fun that feeling is.
Summer offers so much fun all around us—from movies in the park to free splash pads—, there's a lot to take in. And we only get so many summers with our kids when they're small and still see so much magic in the world. There are only really a few years where they'll let us act like a kid with them, (and actually welcome it!) and I intend to make it an incredible two months.
But don't get me wrong—that doesn't mean I need to spend a mortgage payment taking them on extravagant trips or trying to impress them with new toys. Money and gadgets don't equal memories. I'm going to put more quality in the time we spend together.
Being a mom has opened up my eyes to how magical childhood is by seeing the wonder through theirs. Instead of being concerned with how it might look to strangers in the park when I'm making funny faces with my kid, I'm going to focus on being more present at the moment.
I'm going to go outside with my son when he's blowing bubbles in the wind, twirling in circles with our arms spread wide. I'm going to share in the hilarity of trying to catch the bubbles before they pop on the ground, then have competitions to see who can blow the biggest bubble.
I plan on joining my kids on bike rides instead of watching them ride up and down the street from my stoop. Whether it be trying to keep up with them while pushing the stroller or leaving the baby home with her dad and taking my bike out for a spin, I want to experience our neighborhood through their eyes. And, of course, enjoy some mandatory slushies after a tiring adventure.
I'm going to put my body issues aside, and jump in the pool with them. I'm going to try to do handstands with them under the water, I'm going to go down the waterslide (and scream the entire way down), and I'm going to laugh along with them during a hilarious game of Marco Polo.
When they want to play a round of soccer at the park or street hockey in the alley, I'm going to put on my sneakers and join in the game. I might not be the best on the team (okay, I'll likely be the worst), but I know my kids will appreciate having fun and participating instead of me sitting on the sidelines. (Besides, I'll get fewer mosquito bites if I keep moving!)
When my son starts twirling in the rain instead of rushing from the car to the front door of our house, I'll let him enjoy the raindrops on his face. Or better yet, I'll join in. I'm going to try to remember that there will be days in the future where he'll be off on his own. These special moments we're sharing together now are what I will think back on, however small they might seem.
I'm going to try my best to stay present, have fun, and enjoy these little moments.
There are so few summers where we can all be together and relish in each other's company. Eventually, they'll grow up, be more independent, and start to think Mom acting like a kid is annoying. So for now, I want to make the most of the time we have before they decide they're too cool for me.