Puddle Jumping

I was speaking with a childless woman in her forties. “Oh, you’re so lucky,” she said, “I would love to stay at home and play all day.” That kind of comment just automatically clenches my teeth. My initial, knee-jerk reaction is to list all the tedious chores involved in my day-to-day life: myriad hours spent planning, preparing, and cleaning up after meals and snacks, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping with kids in tow. My next reaction is to list all the things I do and the things I do not allow: I don’t watch daytime TV, I spend a lot of time figuring out appropriate craft projects, I read the same books about skyscrapers, vehicles, dinosaurs, and superheroes over and over, they are allowed only a limited amount of TV, I take them on outings, and I supervise (sometimes awful) playdates. Apparently I need to justify my decisions by making my life sound as terrible as possible, as if it is all work and I get no enjoyment out of it.

But the truth is I AM lucky. It is fun to be around the kids all day, even if the above paragraph is true. Yes, it is work, yes, it can be boring, and tedious, and actually kind of irritating to be with small children all day, but it can be so wonderful too. Today we went “puddle jumping”. We walked down the block to ogle the neighbour’s eclectic collection of old cars that were probably bought at an auction and are ostensibly being restored, and that the boys are fascinated with. (“Look, Jake, it’s that Caprice that I love!” “I know, Mark! I really love this Oldsmobile!” ) We looked at the cars for a while and then the boys jumped in every single puddle on the way home. They followed a stream of muddy gutter water, watching it flow into the sewage drain, which is another odd fascination of theirs. They threw rocks into some of the larger puddles and jumped and splashed until, freezing, we had to go home to warm up. And I thought, yes, I really am lucky.


  1. It’s funny – I do feel at once very lucky and very blessed and at the same time I want people to acknowledge that it is real work.

    I quoted your comment in my post today, btw.

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