I opened the door so I could see them.
They were standing near the curb, assessing the sprinklers.
While his father watched the broken one, the little boy danced in and out of the spray from the others, laughing as the water hit him.
He waved to me when he saw me.
“We’re fixing the sprinkler, Mama!” he called. “Come down!”
He didn’t understand that the baby was fussing in her crib.
That I couldn’t leave.
He was wearing his favorite footed pajamas. Royal blue, with dogs. They were wet and covered with the pink cherry blossoms that littered the ground.
He wasn’t wearing shoes.
His father was intent on the problem, focused on the repair.
Running late for work.
Time, it seems, is always in short supply.
For one of them, it was a short morning made longer by necessity.
For the other, it was an unexpected treat.
The chance to play in the sprinkler with one of his parents.
To explore an experience he’d never had.
I don’t know when we, as adults, lose this perspective.
This delight in the journey.
This focus on process.
This understanding that life is lived in the small moments.
Somewhere along the way, we learn to concentrate on the results.
We have responsibilities.
The final score is what the world remembers.
I don’t remember the last time I danced through a sprinkler, head thrown back, eyes closed, mouth open.
The last time I felt cool water land on my face in the early morning air.
The last time I wouldn’t have cared that the people driving by laughed at the picture I made.
Wouldn’t have worried that I was late.
But, as I watched the two of them, each so focused on his present, together, yet worlds apart, I had to wonder.
Who’s teaching whom?
And what is the lesson?