Today was a big day in Missouri. It is the most memorable primary election day that I can recall in all my years of voting. There is an energy in the air and pictures posted all over with people displaying proudly the I VOTED stickers, especially the FUTURE VOTER stickers given to little ones who made the journey to the polls with parents or grandparents. Yes, quite the day! And, Yes, I did vote. And then….
….my day really took a jog in a surprising and delightfully joyful direction. I found myself at the City park, surrounded by shrieks of laughter and competition for swings and climbing ropes, children of all ages, families enjoying an impromptu picnic and the best companion I believe I know-my grandaughter Addie! (I wish my grandson Flynn had been with us as well).
The weather was picture perfect. Glowing sun, 85 degrees and breezy, no need for a jacket. Addie loves the park. In fact, from her wise and “live in the moment” perspective at the ripe old age of 2 1/2 years, for Addie this is HER park. She has full rights and ownership and feels it morally correct to share the park with others; but make no mistake this is HER park. And when you enter Addie’s world at Addie’s park time stops!
Her sheer glee upon arrival is magical. Watching her assess the first choice “prime” activity to enjoy is priceless. For Addie, this park is nothing short of paradise. She gazes, thinks, looks around and then madly rushes to her favorite slide! Sometimes she approaches cautiously, until she remembers this is HER park and she recalls that she knows every inch of it by mere touch. Today she chose her slide. Up the stairs she effortlessly trotted and WHEE !!! down she came and landed so strongly that you wanted to display a numbered score card-perfect 10, Addie! She is always so pleased with her success that an immediate “again” is quick to follow her initial descent down to glory and laughter. Time stops. There is no worry about elections at the park. There is no worry about much at the park. There is only joy at the park. There are only moment by moment giggles and triumphs and brave “next” steps of trial and error at the park.
Around the halfway mark of our time today was the highlight of the visit to Addie’s park. There is what is called a “saucer swing”. Coolest swing I have ever seen. It can hold 3-4 little ones easily but today it was lovingly reserved for Addie and me. That swing was for Grandma and Addie today. I sat on the saucer first and Addie joined my on my lap. I began the leg lifting and back and forth motion to ignite the saucer’s movement. Addie was in heaven. Once we began our saucer swinging adventure time was gone. There was absolutely nothing in the world but joy and breeze and giggles and smiles and the incredible bond of generations coming together. Her soul and mine were one. Holding any child on your lap, especially when they are so closely knitted to your own being that if you let go, they will fall away, or even get hurt perhaps, is, for me anyway, one of the most calming and soothing of human experiences. The trust her little body expressed as she looped up and down, up and down, up and down in the pocket of my lap with my arms wrapped securely around her made me wonder if this is what Kangaroo Momma’s enjoy with a little one tucked so close to them in their pouch. I assure you time stopped.
There was no election. There was no worry. There was no rushing. There only was what “was”. It was in a way indescribable. It was in a way mystical. Addie and I were in a world that belonged to “only us”. It was mesmerizing. We could have stayed on that swing in perpetual motion for hours. It was, after all, in the moment of her world, her park and her swing and her grandma. It was delicious. Time stops when all there is surrounding you is WHAT IS REALLY SURROUNDING YOU and you take every whisper and morsel of the moment in and savor it with all five senses seeking a way to store the moment in that place in yourself where you can revisit its aliveness anytime you want by simply closing your eyes.
How to stop time? Own a park like Addie. Invite amazement at the joy and giddyness of that first choice activity. Swing on a swing in perpetual motion with a darling on your lap and feel her warmth, listen to her smile, smell the breeze and soak in the sunshine. Let the pendulum motion of the back and forth and up and down of the swing settle in to your body as if it was resetting your heartbeat. Savor. Listen. Love. Enjoy. Mostly–LOVE!