We found a nearby park with fountains for all four little boys to play in, which was ideal for the parents: the water was deep enough for the boys to play to their hearts' content, but we adults didn't actually have to get very wet. The boys played and played, and we soaked up the sun, chatted over their heads, and retrieved the pool toys that had occasionally floated out of the grasp of little hands.
Good plan for everyone involved.
When Tucker plays in water of any kind (the bath tub included, sadly), his greatest task at hand is to move all the water to a different location, one cup at a time. On the deck, he transfers water from inside the kiddie pool to inside his wagon . In the bathroom, he makes the transfer from inside the tub to all over my bathroom carpets. (We're working on this one.) And in this community park, he transferred water from the wading fountain to the nearby plants; a little groundskeeping, if you will. All with a faithful blue Solo cup. He is a man of purpose.
He masterfully climbed the two steps up and down, in and out of the water, again and again, with his dribbling cup in hand. After all, he is two-and-three-quarters, so his dexterity on stairs is to be admired.
But on occasion, he needed a hand; sometimes he attempted to carry greater amounts of water, and his cup nearly overfloweth. In his moments of need, I watched him; if I was close by, he reached for my hand. But if I wasn't within his arm's reach, he mindlessly reached for the hand (or pantleg) of the nearest adult, certain that person would help him.
He was right; they always helped him. After all, we were a community of strangers, all about one common goal: an afternoon of safe water-play for the multitudes of children.
As I watched him exemplify his blind faith and dependence on whomever was near, I wondered:
When do we lose that faith?
When do we stop trusting?
When do we get too prideful to reach out for help,
with or without words?
Children are born believing: The world is safe. When it's not safe, and when I need help, somebody will help me - either my mom or somebody else's mom will step up and save the day. I don't even have to ask. I can just reach out, and somebody will hold my hand until I land safely.
Maybe we don't all lose that simple trust; some of us grow up continuing to believe the best, blindly forgiving and expecting everyone to be on the lookout for an opportunity to help someone in need. I have been guilty of such naivete, and I'm not too quick to apologize for it.
Part of me wants my children to forever trust, to forever believe in the goodness of others. But a sad part of me knows that not everyone can be trusted, that I must teach my children discernment, "stranger danger," and how to be safe outside the nest.
But there is great beauty in watching their unblemished nature of pure, simple, unadulterated trust.