Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Cold Spray of Reality

Yesterday at my parents' house in Wisconsin, Nutmeg helped my dad finish planting his garden. Then he set up a powerful circular sprinkler next to his 20x20 plot.

Nutmeg, wearing nothing but a terrycloth swim coverup, had fun running through the spray, mostly at the edges. It was twilight and getting cool out but she didn't care.

I had just carried Pebbles outside, fresh after a bath and in a clean pair of PJs. She went nuts when she saw Nutmeg running through that sprinkler. She tried every which way to wiggle out of my arms. It was like trying to hold a baby pig.

Not wanting to be the denier of summer fun, I finally stripped down the baby to her skin and let her run to the sprinkler.

Her good time lasted a moment or two. She toddled after the spray as it rotated. My mom, dad and I cooed over her adorable tummy sticking out and wanted to run for the camera but didn't want to miss a thing.

But finally, the spray completed the circle and came back around, catching her in the tummy
with what seemed like the force of machine gun fire. Her face crumpled. She bawled and I ran out to rescue her and wrap her in a towel.

Allow me to wax philosophical for a moment. It's rare that you get a chance to see a moment like this in real time: You're young. You see something that looks like sooooo much fun. You can't wait to get involved despite the arms of your loved ones holding you back. But you find out all too quickly that whatever it is -- culinary school, lesbian love, having a beer at every single bar on State Street -- it's nothing like you imagined it would be.

When you're 12 or 20, you end up with major humiliation and heartbreak.

When you're just over 12 months, you cry for a few minutes, then get warmed up, nursed in the rocking chair and put to bed. You've forgotten the whole thing before the lullaby starts.

And how I wish she could skip all those other disappointments in life. If she could just remember this one, and remember always to tread cautiously and to not take it to hard if things aren't what she expected.

But I know that she's got to keep running for that (metaphor that keeps on chugging!) sprinkler. She'll never have any fun or accomplish anything wonderful if she's not willing to take risks. And sometimes the things that feel like a spray of icy water at first turn out to be great after the shock wears off. If not great, well, you know. LEARNING experiences.

I can always dish out warnings and hope she'll do a little more research next time, but I guess I shouldn't get my hopes up too much either.

1 comment:

Patois said...

I love how you tied this into "culinary school, lesbian love..." And I can just see you trying to hold a baby pig!