I readily admit that I am the kind of mom who has clung to bedtime routines and specific bedtimes (X hours after the last nap ended OR half hour before Dancing with the Stars Finale comes on type of thing).
Its worked really well for our family to have structured times for sleeping because we are new at being parents and found that the rhythm of our day kind of went with the clock more often than not.
In early June, we went on a hike that was an hour longer than we'd planned, but instead of cancelling the post-hike activity I'd talked up during the hike because the clock said 8:30 PM (which means its bath and bed at our house), we ignored our responsibility to The Nightly Routine and did the activity anyway.
The activity = Sonic and the Shelter Fountain.
It was a fantastic parenting decision.
DHH loved his chocolate milkshake and ate the entire thing, only spilling the smallest of dribbles.
EK didn't even know she was missing the off-limits dairy product. She was enamored by the fountain.
She pointed, oohed, and screamed for it.
She danced and bobbed up and down and lifted her hands as the water rose higher.
She clapped for the fountain and squealed at its colors.
She was in fountain heaven.
It was easily the happiest night of EK's life, or that's what we assume by the gusto she showed.
Eventually, she realized she needed a little drink, what from all the cheerleading and hooping she was doing, so she claimed my limeade.
DHH took his shoes off and sang, Deep and wide, deep and wide, fountain flowing deep and wide.
He searched for the pump that made the fountain work and asked what "high voltage" meant and why the sign said it.
Both children ran around in circles around the fountain.
They approached the fountain and tried to get into the colorful waters.
They had as much fun with this fountain as they did with the Christmas tree the first time they saw it lit.
It was a fantastic experience for me as a parent, too.
I have several memories at this fountain, including childhood memories.
I came here as a girl with my mother and sisters on the summer weekends we'd visit my aunt and cousins who still live in this city. If we were really lucky, we'd have DQ blizzards and catch lightening bugs.
If we were just regular lucky, we cousins would chase each other around the fountain and debate which colors/fountain arrangements were the best. Our moms (who are twins!) talked about adult things.that we ignored and were easily convinced to let us stay just five more minutes.
I called my mom when we were there, and DHH told her where we were. She could probably her EK shrieking in the background. It was a cool moment to re-visit with my mom.
Another very pleasant memory at this fountain was for my 21st birthday dinner. My real birthday was during the week, before a Chem 33 exam, so there was no tequila until that Friday night.
Instead, Dan and I brought sandwiches and sodas to the fountain and watched children dash around catching lightening bugs.
It felt pretty romantic at the time, even though it was just Subway cookies and holding hands.
We had dated nine months and were more than smitten.
I knew we'd bring kids to this fountain to play one day.
So taking the kids to this place was a little like a Circle of Life experience for me, and it was well worth the crabby bath time we had at 9:30 that night and the even crabbier morning we had the next day as we pried DHH out of his bed to get ready for church.
This is one of the best nights of 2012, and certainly the best night since becoming un-pregnant again.
Its little times like this that I experience such strong joy that the pain abates and is nearly not there at all. And when the sadness comes back, it is less strong and has much less sting than it did originally.
I am really thankful for this experience with my family and the treat it was to share in the joy we experienced as a family that night.