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Childhood In The Water

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Her bright pink hair blows back as Ellie’s smile cracks open her face. I can’t remember the last time I’d seen her so carefree. She is my over-achieving child who seems to always want to one-up both her older and younger siblings. Maybe it’s a middle-child thing.

As soon as she graduated from high school she got a job and moved out of the house, ready to take on the world. It wasn’t long before the home-work-home rut entrenched itself in her life. She is too young for that rut to have found her already.

But, today. Today she is young and wild and carefree. The wind blows her hair away from her face and splashes waves into it. Water droplets hang from her eyelashes. The tube she rides on bounces across the wake of the boat that’s pulling her. I can’t hear the laughter bubbling out, but I see it spill forth as she tilts her head back.

“Ellie, it’s time to go back to the house.”

“Just one last trip? Please?” She draws out that last word as if she were six again.

I can’t deny the joy on her face and we take the boat across the lake again. Childhood, ephemeral and fleeting, has found her in the water.

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