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Archive for August 4th, 2011

There is nothing quite like spending a day full of delight to fill a person with wonder! And the best way to accomplish that is to spend the day looking through the eyes of a child.

And that is how I spent my afternoon.

But, it didn’t start out that way.

We joined a family that we know through our daughter’s swim coaching, at their nearby campsite. The drive there was not all that delightful. Our eleven-year old son, and fourteen year old daughter had enough tension and complaining and arguing between them to start WW3! I finally threatened (oh, yes, I threatened … I reached parental boiling point from which there is no sense, and no turning back), that if they did not act as expected (and no, I did not define what was expected), they would be in trouble (and no, I did not define what the trouble was). And silence overcame the van (as hubby was making yet another UTurn, with the hopes that he was finally heading in the direction that “I was sure we needed to go” … it was not a stellar start to the day for me, relationally, with my family).

From the moment we arrived, the mood and minds and hearts that exited the van were very different from before we emerged from it’s frame.

We greeted our hostess, and wandered through the campground to locate the dad, and their kids. When we found each other, their children (a boy of five, and daughter of seven) came running with open arms towards my fourteen year old daughter, and I.

We returned to their site to have introductions made (as hubby one and hubby two had not met before), and smokies put on the fire.

For about two and a half hours we chatted, giggled, ate, took pictures, watched the kids ride bikes, eat smores with the most humongous marshmallows ever, and giggle some more. And then, we went to the beach.

For the next two and a half hours the four ‘kids’ spent jumping waves, building sandcastles, falling into frigid Northwest coastal waters, burying their feet, running into and out of the waves, and more giggling. And this is where transformations began …

All four of the kids (aged five, seven, eleven, and fourteen)  p l a y e d  like … kids.

The older two were no longer playing at playing, for the sake of the younger ones. The older two were as fully engaged in their own imaginations as were the younger two. They buried their feet deep into the sand, because the effects of the water rushing over the sand caused wonder for them. They jumped into the waves, not just because they were trying to steady the little bodies attached to the hands that they were holding, but because they were experiencing joy in trying to outsmart the nature of the waves. They built sandcastles, not because they were assisting the construction of the dreams of the younger children, but because they were building out the dreams of their own imaginations.

They were fully engaged in the delight of wonder … as the little children were, and as were the four parents, watching a few feet away.

We said our goodbyes, and drove the half hour trip back to our vacation home. And our drive home …

Our eleven and fourteen year old talked together, sang together, laughed together, and … delighted in the wonder that was planted by the seeds of children. Those children who were just being themselves, and who reminded all of us that we are never too old to play.

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