Vail Daily column: Stop and smell the bubbles
August 23, 2010
It’s been a rainy summer, unusual for Colorado. This soggy weather is more in tune with the East Coast where I grew up. Yet, there’s something magical about a daylong rain in Vail, more so than other locations. It doesn’t happen that much. But it’s more than mere novelty. The smell of summer showers sparks something inside of me.
I woke up to the rain this morning. Though the grey light and the penetrating sogginess made me want to spend the day inside, my two-year old daughter wanted to put on her flower-printed rain jacket long before she was even out of pajamas. That we hadn’t any plans to go outside didn’t deter her. She happily ate her breakfast, then colored with her markers, then read a story on her mother’s lap – all with her rain slicker fully snapped up and the hood over her head.
As a grown adult I have few excuses to go outside on purpose when it’s raining. It’s hard to justify doing somersaults in the backyard when I’m all by myself. I’d normally feel silly in my living room singing all the words to “Bear Necessities” from Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”
When I have a two-year old daughter, I’m allowed to spend time studying bubbles and all those other things. Every once in awhile I’m wrenched out of my tunnel vision and my workaholic alter-ego gets forced back into its dark hole kicking and screaming … if only for an hour.
This rainy day came during a long stretch of work and side projects that kept me in a zone of productivity. I spent each day searching out every 10-minute window when I could take a bite out of my latest project.
This morning, however, The Kid’s enthusiasm for the rainy day snapped me out of that weeklong tunnel vision. Out the door we went.
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She squatted next to one of the improvised rivers that flowed down our asphalt drive, mesmerized and ecstatic about the bubbles that worked their way downstream. I can’t remember a time when I ever paid attention to bubbles in puddles of rain. But I did this day. I squatted next to my daughter and became very, very focused on the flowing bubbles.
The Kid did the things kids do on rainy days. With her pink rubber boots she stomped and jumped in the puddles. Her path zigzagged purposefully, making sure she didn’t neglect a single puddle on the sidewalk. We walked slowly down the sidewalk, feeling the drops land with a “thwunk” on our hoods and shoulders, listening to the quiet of a dormant neighborhood, hearing little more than the millions of tiny impacts of drops all around us.
The life of a parent is nonstop go-go. Yet it comes as a paradox: sometimes I’m forced to slow down, to live in the moment. That’s when quality time is thrust upon me. This is a benefit I never thought of when I signed up for the job.
Genevieve and Kelly Coffey share a column on their experiences raising a toddler. They share their mistakes, fears, and laughs along their journey to figure out how anybody could possibly raise a child. E-mail comments or questions about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.