I have always admired the magic of puddles; the formation of water on top of uneven earth creating a reflection of the world above. It patiently awaits the interruption from the environment surrounding it. The one who shatters the image spreads the light it holds to the world around…
One night, when I was a girl of thirteen, my mother gently rubbed my back so I woke up to listen to the rain. Guiding me out of bed and into the night where the steady heartbeat of rain awaited us, she looked at me with anticipation whispered, "Ready?"
I still remember leaving the apartment and smelling the end of summer in the air while stepping into the warm rain. There was no one to be seen. The world was asleep and nighttime beckoned us to explore. I looked at my mom and she smiled her beautiful smile. And then she grabbed my hand.
With wild abandon and uninhibited liberty, we darted down the street, stomping in every puddle we could find. We chased each other in between cars, giggling through the neighborhood until we reached the field where the perfect puddle waited for us. We stopped at the edge and admired the perfection. The rain dissipated causing the ripples to slow and the street lamp nearby to look like it was swaying within the wet mirror.
The stillness was tangible.
Out of breath, and buzzing with joy and excitement, we stood there feeling at one with the silence. And then we jumped in with both feet.
We splashed, stomped, and laughed until we were almost crying. Letting it all out. Letting every emotion release from our body to connect with the ground beneath us. It was magical, mesmerizing, and I have never ever forgotten the freedom in our midnight puddle stomping.
After we got back to the apartment, we dried off and I followed my mom back to her bed to gently tuck her into her covers. I kissed her sweet cheeks and reassured her how much I loved her. I could smell the alcohol mixed into her perspiration and perfume. Her scent now captured her deep heartache and loneliness. How I had wished that I could heal her heart.
I could hear her deep breathing as I lay on her shoulder humming a tune from long ago, stroking her hand until she fell asleep. As I walked back to my bed I thought about how this adventure would be our special secret.
It’s been seventeen years since I stomped in the puddles on that summer night somewhere between childhood and adulthood. It is my souls journey to be the daughter of an alcoholic. Within these moments and the many sorrowful ones that followed, it has been and continues to be my privilege to understand the yin and yang of our experiences. Moments so bittersweet as these holds compassion and honesty we are taught carefully to hide away. The puddles hold authenticity of the moment and inner love and freedom within.
I think we all have times in our lives where there is the profound calm before the storm. The moments you look back to and think, 'How did I not see it coming?’ I choose to think about it differently. I choose to give gratitude towards those moments and trust that jumping with both feet into the puddle nearby could be the moment our soul is seeking to release our inner emotions and spread the light captured in the mirror of our reality.
Embrace your puddles. Mine have changed the experience of my life.
Brittany Courchesne is an early childhood educator, teacher mentor to teachers in training, public speaker, and blogger.