Children have so many skills that are lost to the rest of us. They have such gifts that we have somehow let fade in ourselves.
Today was a cool, sunny day. It was nice. Not hot, not spectacular, just really nice.
Ellie and Johnny were here, and we spent the morning playing, making pancakes, eating said pancakes, and watching the sweet movie “Trolls”, which Ellie loves.
We ate lunch, and suddenly Ellie looked at me with her huge brown eyes and said, “Nonni! We forgot to play outside!”
As if that was her job. As if she had an inborn responsibility to play outside.
What could I do but agree with her?
Given the cool temperatures, I gave her a pair of shorts and T shirt, telling her it was too cool to play in her blow up pool. I put Johnny in pants and a shirt and a big old floppy sun hat, then greased them both up with citronella bug goo.
We stepped outside into the sunshine.
On my lawn sat a big blue pool. A blow up pool. A ten dollar pool. We had put about six inches of water into it yesterday and the kids had played near it. But we have a very very very deep well here, so the water was absolutely FREEZING. Yesterday Ellie had splashed a bit, but wasn’t able to get herself into the icy water.
But. The water had sat out all night (in the rain) and all morning in the bright sun. By the time we got outside today, it had warmed just enough to entice her.
And off she went.
I sat on a lawn chair, just watching. Johnny touched the water carefully, then sat back down. Up again, touch again, smile at Nonni, sit back down in the grass. That was his schedule for the next hour.
Oh, my sweet, beautiful Ellie.
Once again this little girl, not yet three years old, has taught me what it means to live a good life.
Ellie raced onto the grass, danced in a circle and crowed, “This is a great day!!!!” Her invisible pals, “Elsa and Anna” were there with her right away. Ellie touched the water and shouted “It’s warm!” Then she peeled off her jeans and jumped into the pool.
For the next hour, she jumped in and out of the little pool, splashing, screaming, pouring water over her head. “Elsa and Anna are washing their hair!!! Look at Elsa’s face!” After pouring water over herself, she’d throw back her head and shriek.
She screamed. She yelled. She howled with joy.
She jumped, splashed, poured water onto the grass, onto her head, onto her feet, onto her baby brother.
And the whole time, the joy was just pouring out of her. Out of ever pore, every molecule, every tiny speck of that little girl, nothing but pure, pure joy came rushing out.
I sat there in awe.
She was the absolute epitome of happiness. She WAS joy incarnate.
She experienced that one hour outside today as one of absolute and total euphoria.
In a ten dollar pool, on a crabgrass and dandelion filled lawn, this sweet, pure soul danced and played and felt herself to be filled with the most innocent and unsoiled joy. She had no thought for how she looked, or who was listening, or what was happening outside of her circle of happiness.
I sat in awe. I watched her. I wanted to cry, because I couldn’t remember ever feeling that must pure happiness in such a simple way.
I watched her. I listened as she threw her head back and screamed, “I love this pool so much!!!!”
Ellie is joy. She is innocence. She is love.
So is every other child on the face of this beautiful, joyful earth.
In honor of Ellie and John, I need to continue speaking out on behalf of all of the joy filled children in this country, in Africa, in Syria, in Iran, in Iraq, in Russia, in Chechnya, in Puerto Rico.
They are joy.
We really need to find a way to learn from them.