I had an enjoyable busy day. The first rather hectic day since the middle of last week when I acquired the little viral seeming illness which has plugged my ears and sapped my energy. Part of the reason I was going all day was because Gayle had to return to Colorado last night and I am back to hanging with the boys who really enjoyed their time with Grandma Gayle and were well entertained through out. Today I had to devise the schedule and keep them moving. I had hoped a lot of early morning activities like biking, park time and an hour of tennis lessons would wear them out. This was not what they had envisioned though. After a nap refusal from Finn and some brief writing skills by Liam they demanded more action. Unfortunately all I could provide them was a trip to Costco as I had been putting it off but we were in need of some bulk supplies.
After the store adventure the sun was at the perfect Alaska summer afternoon height to warm our back yard and turn it into a water park. Liam and Finn could spent hours playing in the water of a dribbling hose. They devised ways to catch and release the water through toy waterfalls and had a blast. I am sure the mosquitos loved not only the buckets of water but the bare skin of two sweet little boys. Jim got home toward the end of the frolicking and we laughed at their antics. It made me think of how I wish the boys had a creek or river which were not only tolerable to be play in but not large enough to sweep them away. These two problems are pretty common in coastal Alaska and being in a city doesn’t help the slower moving small creeks seem very health wise.
I commented to Jim as I though back about how many times Luke, Mark, and I loved playing in all the rivers and streams around Steamboat. We would bike down the hill into town and somewhere along the Yampa river between the Library bridge and the 5th street bridge always find some place to jump in and play around. I remember how proud and kid big headed we used to get when we could wade all the way across the river down by the fire station or the Old Double Z. Thinking back and knowing now that we probably accomplished this late in the summer when the river was super low is not all that impressive.
I remember times when the river was swollen though and it seemed much bigger to a kid who had never seen a real big river. Even the little creeks like Fish creek, Butcherknife and Soda creek could seem large at times but never to big for the slightly larger kids to find some excuse to slip in. There were a few spring times I am remember Soda Creek by Little Toots Park being pretty dangerous looking as it coursed though the man made tunnel under Main street and smashed around the parks little concrete bends before spilling into the Yampa, but a majority of the summer it was probably little more than a trickle.
I really look back fondly on some adventures up the little Spring Creek when the Shikles Family would have summer parties. All the little boys and some of the girls would jump down in the creek and pick our way up through the seemingly tight and tangled willow of the creek as it snuck behind the school. By the time we were all in high school the bike path had been put through and the creek seemed so tame. Yet to the 7-10 year old Dudley, Weber gang it was a wild adventure to scramble our way all the way up past the high school and through the large seeming culvert to where the river entered into the actual Spring Creek canyon before figuring our parents had probably already called search and rescue (they were probably just marveling at the absence of fighting siblings if they even noticed we were gone).
I am sure there are spots where Liam and Finn could partake in similar activities. I hope to someday hear of stories the two of them have which seem so grand yet as adults we find simple, small, or even a moment we can just let them be. I am amazed constantly at how self directed kids can be when placed in the right settings. Yes, my idea of safety is probably quite different from what it was as a kid but I bet Jim and Gayle and Toni and Kirby had those same thoughts at times. Watching the boys in the evening light dance in the sprinkler, as I am sure most parents would agree, is just a wonderful reminder of how great summer is, how fun kids are to have, and how lucky it is to be able to enjoy the moment. Even after or maybe even more so after a hectic day.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.