Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pond Day

Yesterday evening, I went to see the family I babysit for. They'd just come back from Europe, and I still had their car keys from when I'd dropped them off at the airport a few weeks ago. The kids' sweat-soaked mother opened the door and collected the keys. As we chatted, Baby (who is now four, which makes me feel older than a redwood tree) appeared on the stairs and repeated my name like a mantra until I looked up at her.

"I went to farm camp today," she announced proudly. Her older siblings had both attended this day camp, and she'd been excited to finally go for months.

"And tomorrow is pond day," she added.

"What's pond day?" I asked.

"We're gonna catch frogs and butterflies in nets," she explained.

In that moment, I was intensely jealous of a 4-year-old. The weather this week is beautiful, despite the sweltering heat. While I love my job, I miss summers spent outside, riding bikes and foraging for slimy creatures in swamps and lakes. Baby spent her day dripping sweat and picking strands of slime off her fingers. I spent my day sitting at my desk, drinking several cups of lukewarm office coffee, stopping only to venture to the gym to ward off obesity and arthritis as best I can.

I thought being a grown-up would be more fun than this.

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