"A puddle is generally small enough for an adult to step over, shallow enough to walk through and too small to traverse in a boat or raft. Puddles can be a source of fascination for children." Wikipedia
Wipers swished in cadence across the windshield this morning as I drove child number three to school. We had to stop for gas en route and when I stepped out of the car my shoe made direct contact with an unforeseen puddle.
Pumping gas in the rain with a saturated sneaker - I can cross that one off my bucket list. Rainy days and Mondays. You know what they say. Today I got both (along with soggy shoes). Lucky me.
Child number two didn't go to school today. He is at the university registering for classes he will attend next fall. He left this morning with his student ID, health insurance card, laptop and a spring in his step.
I think back 18 years, when he was scheduled to make his appearance in our family. His older sister played such a huge, amazing, breathtaking, integral, fantastic and groundbreaking part in the lives of two rookie parents. I couldn't imagine how I'd muster up the same feelings for our upcoming addition. I worried about having enough love, as though love was something one can quantify. Child number two arrived on his due date. He was beyond beautiful. Our hearts expanded. And in that instant, our love for him just was. He's had a starring role in our family ever since.
As a toddler, he loved splashing in puddles. He'd walk back and forth, through the water, stomping his feet to get the most splash effect while laughing like only a toddler can - as though the joy comes straight from the heart (because it does). Sometimes he'd sit down in the puddle and splash with his hands. He didn't mind getting wet.
We had a large divot in our driveway and on dry days we'd fill it to make a puddle for him. I took photos of him splashing in the water because it made him happy and that made us happy.
This morning, I felt as dreary as the weather. I'd like to blame my mood on the rain, but that wouldn't be right. As I pulled off my wet socks, it dawned on me.
It's really more about puddles.
Rain falls from the sky. Water settles and accumulates in low spots. This is the way the universe works - gravity and all that. I can define a puddle as a mass of dirty water that does nothing more than splash my car, soak my socks and dampen my spirit. Or I can look down at my reflection in the liquid and perceive it through the eyes of a child - full of joy and possibilities.
Rain falls down. Children grow up. There's no time, really, to dwell on damp socks. If you do, it's only time wasted.
I understand the scheme of things. Still, I know there will come a moment in the days and weeks ahead when I will create a puddle of my own. Heck, I'll probably become one.
That's okay. Moms are supposed to feel emotional and puddly at times like this.
My son is no longer a toddler splashing in puddles. His voice has deepened and his height far surpasses mine. His hugs are strong and muscular and welcome. Today, he sets out to start the next stage of his adventure. As he walks through the parking lot to enter the university's registration building, he may hop over puddles or run right through them. He may even be unaware of the rain. Gosh, I hope so.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, playwright and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" You can read more columns at the Slices of Life page on Facebook.