Walk On Water
Today I was driving home from the gym with my 2 year old and I asked her if she wanted to drive up the mountain or around the lake. True to the personality of this tiny person I have come to know, she chose the lake in her never ending quest to see ducks and point them out to everyone within shrieking distance.
We have been out of town for about a week and avoided a lakeside excursion beforehand thanks to a sleeping toddler and the fact that mommy needed to get home quickly and up the mountain is faster. So today was the first day in some time that we took the leisurely route home.
Much to our surprise, and to our great dismay, the lake had begun to thaw in the last couple weeks. So much so that the edges were crystal clear water and the ice that remained started some ten feet away from shore. My younger daughter looked at me and said "walk?" with a questioning look in her eyes. "No sweet girl," I responded, "we are too late to walk on the water."
You see, my other daughter who will be four in a few months, has been asking to walk on the frozen lake for weeks now. She remembers how much fun it was when her Aunt and cousins came to visit last year and we played on the ice. She remembers how different things looked from the center of the lake looking towards the shore. But every time she asked if we could go walk on the water this year, my response was tomorrow, or when daddy is home, or this weekend. We would cruise by the lakeside in the car and marvel at the fishing huts in the middle of the lake, follow the trails of snow mobiles that criss crossed the frozen surface, and guess at how deep the snow was in the center. All my older daughter wanted to do was walk on the water. To touch the frozen surface after digging through the snow to reach it, gloves off, to see if it was as cold as we kept telling her it was. And now it is too late.
Perhaps you wonder why we don't just go next year, and that is a valid question. Firstly, we are moving this summer to a slightly warmer area that is not in the mountains but in the city. There are man made bodies of water and a few polluted rivers, but no massive lakes nestled within evergreen summits within walking distance to our house.
Second, and more importantly, the girls will be a year older. So much changes in a year for a person at any age, but at this especially young stage of life the changes are so vast and happen so quickly. The curiosity that laces every activity wanes with each year as children grow older and their sense of "knowing it all" increases. The wonder found in a leaf blowing across the street, or the flight of a bumble bee, or the freezing of a lake in the cold winter...the awe found in simplicity grows less as kids grow up. No matter how much I foster it, my children will never have the same amount of fascination or inquisitiveness as they do in this season of late winter/early spring of 2015.
So I add this to my list of opportunities lost. Lost to busy days and hectic schedules that leave me tired and flustered, and with a pinch of regret. How many opportunities do we miss? Opportunities to explore with our children? To take a moment and try to see the world in the innocence and wonder that they consider it through. Or to learn the history or current goings on of a loved one through a chat on the phone? Sure a text or short email is easier, but there is so much to be said for the sound of a voice, of a laugh, that LOL will never be able to convey. Opportunities to be patient or to be kind. Opportunities to discover and learn. Opportunities to love and be loved. When these opportunities present themselves and we wait too long or ignore them entirely, it is so much more than just the opportunity that is lost.