Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Best Day Ever

This will be my shortest post ever and my first that has nothing to do with running. It really came out of nowhere which is the mark of a special moment. I think it started this morning. I was looking at quotes as I always do.....trying to find one that I think might make an impact on people. Instead, I found a poem that had an impact on me.

If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to Heaven
And bring you home again.
-Author Unknown

In case you made it here without the back story......I lost my Dad to leukemia and while he was fighting I lost my daughter Isabella. In between and years after, my wife was diagnosed with cancer two times.....twice she was the victor. Anyway, this poem brought me to Isabella. I have been thinking of her a lot recently. Don't get me wrong, there is not a day that goes by without me thinking of my Dad but lately it is Isabella that has been on my mind. I think it is all the Holiday shopping. It is seeing all the kids, mine included, so excited for the holidays. It is spending hours in the Disney store and the Sanrio store and looking at pink outfits for my amazing 2 year old daughter Thalia. All good times that happen to remind me there is something laugh that cannot be heard.

Move forward a few wife, Crea, and I take the entire family to see Tangled. With a 2 and a 6 year old........9 out of 10 movies we watch involve cartoon characters. There is one scene in the movie showing Rapunzel's father on the night of her birthday with a tear streaming down his face as he missed his daughter that had been taken. Again, this scene took me to Isabella. Just a hint of sadness for me. Just a reminder that one seat was empty.

Jump forward one hour. It has been raining in Los Angeles for a few days now. It is supposed to rain for another few days. One week of rain in LA is unheard of. I live for these times because one of my favorite things to do is run in the rain. One problem........I have a stress fracture. No running for me so this opportunity is passing me by and it will probably be another 10 years before it rains 7 straight days. On the way home from the movie I decided that while I could not run, there was nothing stopping me from going for a walk and stomping in a few puddles. I got home, put on some shorts and sandals and was ready to go. Before heading out, I decided to see if my son, Jaden, wanted to join me. He seemed a little unsure which lead me to believe he really needed to go for a walk in the rain. He has missed the joy of jumping in a big puddle having spent his entire 6 year life in Southern California. Off we go.

Jaden seems very timid at first. He is all bundled up in a rain jacket......I am dressed to get soaked. I make sure to let him know this is truly one of my favorite things and that I am happy to have him join me. "Why do you like it so much Dad" Jaden asks.

Good question.

I never really stopped to put a lot of thought to why I liked it so much but the answer came fairly easy. I like it because I feel at one with the world. I like it because I feel closer to God. I like it because everyday there are rules to follow and boundaries put upon us but there are no rules when you run in the rain. Instead of avoiding obstacles, a run in the rain is all about heading straight for the biggest puddle. No umbrella to shield you. Just bring it on and get as wet as you can.

I doubt at six, he understood what I was saying but I know the smallest moments can make a lasting impression. I hope somewhere down the road it all makes sense. For now, to solidify the message, I pointed to an enormous puddle and told him to jump in. He looked at me thinking it must be some trick. I assured him it was not. There would be no time out. There would be no penalty for getting wet. The shoes will dry and so will you. Jump in my friend and you will know what I am talking about. Jump in is exactly what he did and his laughter could be heard for blocks. It was amazing. We spent another 45 minutes out in the rain. I took him to all the places I knew the water built up into nice big tide pools. We were not on the sidewalk. We were in the street. People were looking at us funny......maybe they were looking at me thinking I am some horrible parent but I could care less. We were kicking water on each other and having a blast. A block from our house, a new park opened........I thought it might be a good idea to play in the park in the rain. It was only us. It was dark. It was open. We were among the first to experience the park and it was incredible. We did everything there was to do.......note: slides are insanely fast when new and wet. We went down many fast that there was no landing on the feet. There was only landing on our back side but there was no pain, only laughter. After a while there, we headed home in a new direction to see if there were bigger and better puddles to conquer. On the way, we came to one of the few trees near my house that was actually losing its leaves. I taught my son about how amazing it is back east when all the leaves change color and how amazing it is to build an enormous pile of leaves and dive in. This tree had dumped so many on the ground that I was able to grab a large pile and toss them in my son's face. Again, nothing but laughter......and retaliation. We had a leaf fight for a few minutes and then continued home. He
asked why there were not more leaves on the ground all the time. I told him that the gardener's come and pick them up to keep the sidewalks clean. His response was priceless:

"When I grow up I want to be a gardener's boss and when I am, I will fire all of them so the kids can play in the leaves"

I think he was getting the point of our journey. In our last few minutes in the rain Jaden stopped me to ask if he could tell me something. "Sure thing buddy!". What he wanted to tell me was that this was "the best day ever!!!" which are words every parent wants to hear. Anyway, we made it home. Out of nowhere came this special moment with my son that seemed to bring my day full circle to the quote I posted on Twitter this morning:

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains" Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Yes I wish I could play in the rain with Isabella. One day I will. Today, the beauty of this moment will remain.