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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dolphin Day

For the second year in a row, Owen's school Christmas pageant was postponed because of snow.

Last year, I took it pretty hard. Unless, that is, you think tears and fist-shaking-at-the-sky are reasonable responses to missing a few songs and post-show cupcakes.

This year, I just rolled my eyes and laughed at the absurdity of it---December is a most inconvenient time of year to do musical productions, don't ya think?

Perhaps we should do more pageants for Waiting for the Barbarians Day (November 4th).  The costumes alone are a win.

However, because I am not in charge, it is unlikely that my suggestion will be taken seriously.

Instead, because we suddenly had a morning free, Owen and I went sledding. We drove to the elementary school that he will attend next year, a warm, boxy building with truly excellent hills. Our feet crunched in the slush as we walked to the steepest hill. He flashed me a grin, gave himself a running start, and rocketed down.

He spun in circles, like he was a pin in an icy pinball machine. He swerved left and right, leaving crests of icy slush in his wake. He crashed into a bank of snow, seemingly miles from me. For a moment, I heard nothing. Then, I heard his distant voice, "Woo-hooo! AGAIN, Mommy!"

And again we did. And again. And again. There was nothing on earth but his icy, still playground. Adventure awaited him with every ascent and descent.

It was perfection.

As Michelle reminds us, the Universe is Abundant.

Several years ago, my husband and I took a boat trip to the Channel Islands, around Ventura County, California. At least that was the plan. The waves were especially choppy that day. The boat heaved and shifted like a giant rolling over in his sleep. We were forced to turn around.

Although I was disappointed to not see these islands, which inspired the Island of the Blue Dolphin books I devoured as a young girl, we were okay with it. Why? Because on that rollicking boat ride, we saw dolphins. Pods and pods of liquid-dancing dolphins, silvery and magic. They jumped around our boat, each one a honest-to-God miracle. It was majesty in motion.

Who needed the destination with a journey like that?

I feel the same way about the school pageant. If it hadn't been canceled, I wouldn't have had that wintry small moment with my son. I wouldn't have shared a hot chocolate with him at Starbucks, and possibly wouldn't have heard him whisper, "You're the best friend to be around," before he drifted off to sleep that evening.

He will have his pageant, and it will be heart-swelling adorable, I'm sure.

But--- because I was lucky enough--this time---to recognize the opportunity, we had a dolphin day. Those you never, ever forget.

32 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

And this is something you will come back and read (I hope!) in ten years and go, "Oh yes. Oh yes. Oh yesss...
I remember."

singedwingangel said...

OH how I miss those moments. Mine are getting so big and I am the last person they want to be around. Although I did get to see the Christmas play cause they had it the week before last, probably a good thing since they missed all of last week due to snow.

FabuLeslie said...

Awww, you're the best friend to be around. Awwww. Precious moments.

clearness said...

This is such a sweet post. And we've been having dolphin days around here. Days and days off school for our Christmas break! Yea!

Coby said...

I cried, and not because I'm hormonal, but because this is so beautifully true. I love those unplanned moments - the moments where I pray that God will knit mine and my children's hearts together and build a wealth of memories for them to draw from.

Cheeseboy said...

I wish more parents thought along the same lines as you. I'd hope that I would take my kids sledding to. Beautifully said.

BTW, I have funny video of my school's song fest on my blog now.

The Empress said...

Oh! Oh! Oh!

Talk about winning the lottery with that little slice of heaven whispered in your ear before he fell asleep. Pure heaven.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

LB said...

I can't believe you were sad about missing the school program! My husband and I were jubilant after my daughter's last one when we realized we'd never had to go to another one. She moves up to kindergarten next year so she'll be a certified, too-cool-to-sing-in-a-Christmas-pageant Diva. Of course, for the past 4 years we've had two Christmas pageants per year. Enough already; I'd much rather be sledding! Sounds like soooo much more fun!

Michelle Pixie said...

You such an inspiration to me! To do better and be better and be present in the moment. I am not just saying it because it sounds good...you have honestly made my guilt that comes with blogging be a thing of the past and I enjoy my kids so much more! Thank you!

Formerly known as Frau said...

A perfect day I would say thank you mother nature! One for the memory book a best days as a mom.

noisycolorfullively said...

Maybe I'm a little tender because Cordelia leaves tomorrow, but THIS. This, is beautiful.

"Because on that rollicking boat ride, we saw dolphins. Pods and pods of liquid-dancing dolphins, silvery and magic. They jumped around our boat, each one a honest-to-God miracle. It was majesty in motion."

Perfection.

"I wouldn't have shared a hot chocolate with him at Starbucks, and possibly wouldn't have heard him whisper, "You're the best friend to be around," before he drifted off to sleep that evening."

Sniff, sniff, sob! So sweet!

Kim said...

I loved that last part especially too. It's exactly what I strive for, what you're talking about here. Recognizing the moments with consciousness. You've touched on something so articulately. Also, once when I was a kid camping on a beach in Mexico with my family, I woke up early and saw a whale's tale and hump not too far off shore. I felt priveleged then and will always remember it.

Mel said...

Such a beautiful story - both of them. Your son's sleepy whisper made my heart swell with happiness. You are so lucky, and luckier still to be smart enough to write it all down. These beautiful quiet memories can easily slip away...
Wishing you many more dolphin days!

erika said...

Sounds like a perfect day. And I think they should make you the head of the pageant committee.

Marla said...

Waiting for the Barbarians Day? I so need an invite to that.

You had an amazing dolphin day indeed. Smart mommy.

Unknown Mami said...

I remember this happening last year. Look at you and how much your attitude has changed.

Happy Holidays!

Maggie May said...

'you're the best friend to be around'

oh my god..that is awesome.

Kristy said...

That is great! My boy loves to sled too.

Stacey @ Entropified said...

Many moons ago, I lived in Minnesota - grew up there. And the best sledding in our town was at one of the schools too!

So glad you got the better thing.

Minivan Lover said...

I love it! Children rarely let you sulk and if you are doing it all right, you find these super cool chances to do something memorable.

Where was Joel?

Cat said...

Sounds a lot better than sitting through a pageant. Carpe diem.

Joanna Jenkins said...

This post was filled with holiday magic-- Sledding AND dolphins?!?!? What more could you ask for.

Wishing you and your wonderful family a very happy memory-filled Christmas. xo jj

Erin said...

Wow, Nance. Spot on. I would KILL to see dolphins, go sledding, all that fun stuff...I hope I'm smart enough to start catching these moments when they present themselves.

Merry Christmas, my sweet friend!
xoxo

Fragrant Liar said...

There now, no substitute for serendipity. The universe works in wise and wonderful ways. Glad you could share the time with your boy. These are the moments we live for.

Michele R said...

This was so beautiful to read. So much better than you thought the day would be.
We had snow in GA but not enuf for sledding...not that we have a sled.
Can't wait to read more of your blog this next year.

Ash said...

Oh those moments. So few and precious. Good for you!! And Owen. He will remember that day. I think of him telling his new buddies come first days of kindergarten - "my mom is sooo cool..."

(I may have to hit the library and check out Island of the Blue Dolphins. It's been a while since I've visited my favorite :-)

Megan said...

Sledding is definitely cooler than a pageant - especially when you take the time to savor it!

Nichole said...

May we all know the joys of a dolphin day.
Thank you so much for sharing this with me, Nancy. It is so lovely.

The Twin Spin said...

Oh, his little whisper gave me chills! What a wonderful moment.

Varda said...

Simply lovely. I have had those dolphin moments in my life. It's important to remember them as we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, especially the all too busy life that kids create. Thank you for sharing this.

Erin said...

This made me cry...literally bawl! Why you ask? Because life is short, too short, and any begged, borrowed or stolen moment like that with your child is absolutly wonderful!

Oh and next time you are in practically my back yard, Ventura, let me know, i'll come around!

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

Love the title, love the day you describe with your son. Love how your son called you his best friend. These are certainly the moments we live for as mothers, aren't they?

So glad I found this and you through Nichole :)