Today was such a perfect day! After several days of hellacious heat, we were all going stir-crazy. This morning was beautiful and comparatively cool (double-digits instead of triple-digits), so we jumped in the van and headed to the park.
As we walked along the shaded entry, it sounded like it was raining. I looked up into the trees thinking we were getting a shower. Instead, I saw tons of squirrels, and was pelted with bits of shells from the pecans they were munching on. I've never seen so many at once! Elena and I both thought it was pretty funny, and were giggling together.
Ariana went to conquer the monkey bars, Joelito started burying himself in the sand box, Elena jumped into her favorite swing, and Amaya snuggled down in my wrap and took a nap. While I pushed Elena, the lady next to me struck up a conversation. Living in the buckle of the Bible Belt, we come across a lot of people who are unbalanced spiritually (and probably mentally), but everything she said was so encouraging. It was really sweet, and I felt very encouraged after she left.
Ariana, who had been endeavoring for months to master the monkey bars, crossed several times without hesitation. She was so proud of herself for sticking with it and managing to do it! Despite blisters on her hands when we left, she wore a huge smile. She also spent a lot of time watching over Elena as she explored.
Elena is usually the most intrepid of our little crew, but she kept stopping herself and saying, "Be careful! Don't fall!" today. I wasn't sure whether I should be pleased that she had internalized the idea or to regret saying it so often that she didn't have the confidence in herself to go ahead. Sigh--I think a continual part of motherhood is questioning my balance!
Joelito climbed unhesitatingly to the top of every structure in sight. A couple of times he wasn't sure how to get back down, but he made it successfully. All three stayed within the area I had told them to be in, played nicely with the other kids there, and left without complaining when it was time to go. I hear so frequently that children who are not spanked (let alone not punished!) are brats who terrorize everyone around them. I usually hesitate to use my own kids as examples, because there are certainly times when their behavior is not what it should be (generally because *my* behavior hasn't been what it should). However, the truth is that most of the time they are delightful, considerate, respectful and helpful kids. I really love being with them and taking them places because they keep it fun for everyone.
Once it got a bit too warm for comfort, we left the park and visited my beloved nephew and in laws. I am incredibly blessed in having a sister in law whom I would choose for a friend any day. She is an amazing mom and person in every way! We stopped for Mexican limonadas on the way home. There are always things that we might like to change, or times of stress and difficulty, but on days like today I feel like I've been soaking in showers of blessings. And pecan shells (I think I still have a few bits in my hair!).