We had a day off from school yesterday and so my daughter and I went out to McMinville to explore the new water park at the aviation and space museum there. Wow! A world of water and kids and water and slides and water and
trivia quizzes and water and….. Well, you get the idea.
The activity of choice for my daughter was the tide pool; waves which came at you with the force of a St. Bernard. I, however, was awed by the huge water slides that actually started from inside a 747 airplane which had been lifted onto the roof of the building. The slides were very high up, which had a lot to do with why my daughter was not interested in riding them, but not nearly as scary as they looked. The hardest part, in fact, of riding the slides was the long climb to the top.
It isn’t often that my daughter and I get to hang out like that together just the two of us. So whenever I found myself wanting to sit and let her play on her own I was struck with the need to participate. And, once again I would end up jumping the waves and splashing around. Since we had gone on our own, no one there knew us and I could be as silly as I wanted.
There is great freedom in being at play around children, I think. It is so easy to forget how to be silly and playful, how to fall without worrying about getting hurt or how to shout without it being to get our child’s attention… just for the pure fun of letting our voice be heard. And, something about water encourages this type of play even as adults.
So, while I knew I needed to model bravery for my daughter by eagerly riding on the slides, what started as a task driven by her became fun in its own right. So every now and then, while she was jumping in the waves, I was choosing which slide I would ride next… And then yelling all the way down the long dark tube of the Riptide.