I accompanied five girls to the splash pad today: my daughter Jacqueline and her four friends, all clad in their swimsuits with towels tucked under their arms. The sun blazed in the clear blue sky, a welcome change from the ever present clouds of the past few weeks. We made our way down the street and across the lush green grass of the park to the play equipment where we made a short stop. The girls climbed on it, their long limbs wrapped around its bars. Our second stop was at the Spider, a rather large piece of playground equipment in the middle of the park; it looks boring but the girls liked it just as much or more than the monkey bars.
Our final stop was the splash pad. A couple of younger children were just leaving. A baby girl, dressed in her frilly swimsuit, frolicked under the water spraying from the pad. Jacqueline and her friends ran over and under the sprinkling water on a day that was hot, but not too hot. A gentle breeze wafted across the park as I watched from a picnic table. I watched the baby girl crawl around the splash pad, thinking that it wasn't that long ago that my Jacqueline was a baby. And now she's up to my chest. It struck me there and then: Enjoy these years because before you know it, your daughter will be all grown up.
After an hour or so, we headed for home, the girls having dried off from the afternoon sun. The guests changed out of the suits into their clothes and then took their places at the dining room table for supper. Rob arrived with the pizza and garlic bread. After the first course, we sang Happy Birthday to Jacqueline. Her brother Thomas snapped a photo as she blew out her number 10 candle. She is so proud to be in the double digits now. The girls devoured their chocolate fudge cake and vanilla ice cream.
After supper, Rob took the girls outside to the backyard for a rousing game of soccer. Kicking around a multi-coloured ball, the girls played a match that lasted for an hour and a half! They downed water like a baby slurps a baby bottle.
Spent, they changed out of their sweaty clothes into their pajamas, grabbed their stuffies, large and small, and settled in to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks. Yes, they still love stuffies. Enjoy it while it lasts!
And now for the sleepover...
Happy Birthday, Jacqueline! I love you!