July 21, 2009
As you know, I work in retail. There are some challenging things in this field of work, but there are challenges in many other careers too. I have been in retail management for over 20 years, so I have taken on the challenges and tried to appreciate the good things about it. One of the good things I took a moment to gaze at yesterday, was a little girl and her mom walking through the store hand-in-hand. I love little kids. Not in the "creepy, don't live next door to that guy" way, or the "he'll eat anything, and loves kids" way (that I saw in an ad for a new pet); but in the way that you look at their little faces and they are full of wonder. This is, of course, in the faces of toddlers who have not yet been jaded by the real world yet. These youngsters are usually sitting in their strollers or shopping carts with a look on their face that lets you know they are just taking everything in. They have never seen that toy before, or they have never smelled popcorn before, or they have never seen the guy who works here with the goofy face before. It is a look I can never get enough of.
So yesterday, I see this mom and daughter, and it takes me back to one of the warmest memories my wife and I share. We just have to mention Winton Woods Park to each other, and we know the exact memory we are revisiting.
Winton Woods is one of the great parks here in Cincinnati. It has many features, but the one we go back to is the water park. There is portion of Winton Woods where there is a big lake with a walking path around it. You can rent paddle boats or canoes to go out in the lake. There are places you can fish. And there is a family area with a playground, eating area, and splash park.
When my son was around 18-22 months old, we took him to the splash park. He ran around and had a great time in the water, under the waterfall, down the slides, and in the puddles. It was awesome to watch. Finally, it was time to leave the splash park, and we decided to take a short walk along the lake. We took up our customary positions along the lake, my son in the middle, my wife protecting one way, and myself protecting him from venturing too far the other way (or into the lake some might call it). We walked for about 5 minutes just taking everything in, when all of a sudden, I felt this little soft hand reach up into mine to hold hands. I looked over and could tell the same thing had just happened to my wife by the enormous smile she had on her face. It was completely unsolicited on our parts, and just something he felt at that moment. It was as if he was saying, "I'm really enjoying this day with you two and I want to hold your hand right now."
Well, they almost had to have a bio hazard clean up in Winton Woods lake as this moment melted me until I oozed right into the lake. My wife and I will share it in our heads and hearts forever, and always have a reason to smile.
We don't have much planned today except haircuts and big fun. We know it is time to get my son a haircut when it gets a certain look. When he was little it was "Ted Koppel" hair. It looked like his hair was eating his head. Now that he is bigger, it is "elf that wants to be a dentist in the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer show" hair. He does not like this analogy much, which actually cements my argument for thinking it may be time for that haircut.
We have fun to get to, so until next time...