...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


fish out of water...

I didn't grow up with a pool in my backyard. Or a season pass to a water park. Summers were dry except for the occasional water balloons I'd knock people with from our fifth-story window. This was tons of excitement for a girl growing up in Queens in an apartment building... until one day when one of my balloons exploded on top of a cute teenager of all people. He took the time to teach me a lesson by climbing up the firescape, crawling through our kitchen window, and chasing me all the way to the bathroom. Before I could shut the door - he served me with a death warning. My water amusement pretty much ended there. We spent most of our summers in a fenced park - jumping off of metal swings, hanging by our knees on monkey bars, playing handball on concrete walls, and chasing ice-cream trucks until we could no longer hear its bells. It must have been the hottest day in New York City's history - because I can remember only one day - out of all the years we spent there [10 years to be exact] that someone opened the fire hydrant and created a geyser of cold water that sprayed life back into fishes out of water.

So on Ava's first visit to a splash park - she must have felt the same bliss. And we witnessed that complete moment of - oh what do they call it, sweet childhood innocence? Not noticing anyone around her [except for us to occasionally laugh with] - Ava ran around as if she had the entire place to herself, splashed in puddles made by the sprays, and squealed when she found herself under cold water. I was in awe - but more so grateful for her to be able to express her free spirit - which is something I will never be able to create or give her. Instead, it's hers to embrace and experience and enjoy... until change happens.

Last week that change happened when she returned for the first time this summer. As we pulled into the parking lot, Ava saw all the kids having fun. By the time we reached the wet area, she disappeared behind our legs. I was crushed.

I can't understand - but know I have to eventually - that children discover themselves in this big world and suddenly become shy or [gulp] intimidated by their surroundings - [big gulp] preventing them from being themselves - [start tearing] and expressing their free spirit. Sure we could try to prepare them by encouraging social environments - and we do. But I wasn't prepared for this. She had so much fun last year - What did she see that I didn't?

That night, Ava struggled with her fork at the dinner table. She caved, threw down her fork and whined, "I can't do it." I snapped. And told her with conviction and crescendo, "You CAN do it. You CAN do anything." Louder and louder, we shouted this mantra together and I felt so much better. I think Ava did too - an opportunity to yell [with permission] at the top of her lungs was fun for her.

The very next day, my family came over for an evening picnic at the splash park. I was willing to give this another try. This time, when I pulled into the parking lot, Ava said, "I'm going to say hi to my friends." And instantly, I was comforted by her confidence. The three of them [Ava, Noah, & Humzah] ventured into the wet playground area as soon as their swimmers hit their bottoms. Humzah and Noah were instantly chilled by the subtle evening breeze. Which meant - Wagma [who is 7 months pregnant] and her husband Masaud, soaked themselves in their work clothes, running through cold sprays and only stopping to catch a rainbow forming in the sky from our view...


And Ava? .... she frolicked and flailed like a fish out of water with her stomach on the ground... but smiling all the way. Maybe it was because it was later in the evening - and the park was sparingly crowded unlike the day before. Maybe it was the group of familiar faces and her cousin Humzah being there... to hold her hand...


Or maybe.... it just took a day to awaken that free spirit so rightfully hers...

While I thought Ava lost some of her fearlessness and comfort - she gained it all back when Grandma spotted an ice-cream truck near by. Its melody ringing from the curbside, my Mom took Ava's hand to begin the tradition of 10 years she did for us - and bought us all ice-cream. The only person running this time was me - looking for my camera - so that I could capture the very image that summarized my childhood so perfectly. With or without water...



Nothing Fishy About It Tips
You have to go at least once - but with the way our heat index rises, you'll be visiting often. There's something fun about being sprayed versus wadding in your own pool. There are several
locations in Dallas near a rec center. They are open from 8-8. We love the Lake Highlands splash park near our favorite library.

Go early. Or go late. For some reason, every time we go, there are waves of youth, families, or parties. Whatever the occasion - it's busy! We had great luck going at 7 - the kids can't take more than 15 minutes anyway.

Is it worth going? Of course, because there's a place to picnic, swing, slide, and people watch. After sitting in the heat, you'll be jumping in the splash park too.

Bring change for the ice-cream truck. I don't condone sweetening the sweet tooth - but I do condone starting a family tradition that is...



  1. The famous splashpark....

    We found out about it when we were at the Skillman Library and overheard a few of the moms setting up a play date with their children. Upon seeing our interest, we were also invited to join.

    Before seeing it, I was thinking in my head what on Earth could this place be like? The way they described it made it seem like a playground with all sorts of cool spouts, spickets, buckets, and hoops all spraying water in every direction. It couldn't possibly exist... that would just be too perfect for the hot summer we were anticipating last year.

    Then we arrived... and it was just like I imagined. I wish places like that existed when I was Ava's age- although I seemed to do quite well running through the sprinkler (probably in my Incredible Hulk underwear) in our front yard instead.

  2. Oh my, you have no idea how i miss the icecream truck... here in portugal we have NONE:(
    Such a sweet family you have, and i admire you for teh strenght and conviction you pass on to you children, and to us:)

  3. Ze - wow, thank you so much for your compliments. I am blushing! Keeping up with a blog is insane considering everything moms do, but it is comments like yours that keep me wanting to share more. This is my exact wish for this blog - to pass that conviction and strength of loving family and doing things together. Mission accomplished - Thank you Ze!

    And about that icecream...that's hard to believe there aren't any in Portugal! As Ava would say, "are you shh-o-re?" ;)

    So... is there something better?

  4. Hey Zarlacht, Aaron, Ava and Noah!

    Well, it's wonderful to be back into a routine after our trip to Punta Cana. And that means being back to my favorite morning activity of reading your fun, insightful stories and viewing your beautiful, in-the-moment photos!!!

    Corbin and I will have to come along to the splash park sometime, I don't think I've ever been to one. I'm with you Aaron, I just played with the water hose in the front yard. Now I was lucky, through the years Andrea and I played with and destroyed a slip and slide, the clown head that sprayed a jet of water that would shoot his hat straight up in the air and a medium sized above ground pool. But there was nothing like just running through the old sprinkler!

    Aaaahhhh, the dog-days of summer...fun memories...

    Hope to see you all soon!

    (And Aaron, for the life of me I can't remember my swim trunks, but I did occasionally venture into the water in my Transformer underoos—usually only in the backyard.)

  5. Yeah! You guys are here! Missed you guys and your daily comments I get to share and think about. Above ground pools - I've only been in one once - when visiting my Aunt in NJ - I thought it was the coolest thing. Had no idea at the time homeowners also had underground ones too until I came to Texas - and it seemed like everyone had one!

    Sprinklers... that does sound like fun. With the water restrictions, ant piles, thick grass blades that hurt on barefeet- I've been hesitant to let Ava & Noah run through. Although - you guys are making me think - this may be very memorable for them...

    I'm sure you guys are catching up on work - if there's a free night next week, let's get together. We can visit the splash park and have dinner afterwards?

    Hugs to you both,

  6. Hello..I found you via Zelia's blog and I love your stories and photos. I am from Texas, Corpus Christi, but now, live in Colorado. Hope you're enjoying the Texas heat!!! :)

  7. Hi there Mamameo! Glad you found me and I do hope you'll visit back to read more ;)

    I love Zelia's blog- she's very gifted with creativity!

    The Texas heat is killing me! 19 years here and counting - every summer I kick myself for not having moved yet. I really do like it here more than I'd like to admit;)

    How's Colorado? And why did you leave Corpus?

  8. Hey, Zarlacht!
    I would love to go to the splash park. I can completely imagine it.
    Here we don't have any, just a great park with some public showers to cool a little. And it has a lovely view to the river. It's really nice. But huge amounts of water... nope. And we LOOOVE water. Very much. Zoe is a water lover too. We three are. I've broken my own record by staying INSIDE the pool for twelve hours straight one time, when I was younger. I even eat in the pool. Great mami I have that let me! Don't you think? She complaint, but still allowed me to do it. It was in my uncle's house, they lived in the suburbs with a big park and a pool in the house.
    I'm so glad Zelia and you found each other. She's great too. And she is a doula, did you know? She's a lovely person.
    Well, here we are in the midst of the winter, with a heat we could be having in the mid-summer. It's very strange. Global warming, huh? Freaky!

  9. Hi Julie! How are you feeling? Maybe the boost of warm weather in Buenos Aires is for you so that you can get over that cold! ;)

    I must say, I too would have wished for a splash park like this when I was little. In fact, I would go further to say I wish I went to school with green lawns and tracks and stadiums to compete in [not that I was ever athletic or anything.] But it is a far difference from where I grew up in Queens - with fenced in concrete and one basket ball hoop to share with the entire school. Everything was built - up. Whereas here, everything is built - out. I ride the bus 30 minutes to get to school. Here, they build schools faster than houses here... What can I say - we have a lot of space out here in Texas!

    12 hours in the pool! I can't even imagine it! Very cool Mami to let you. Did you whine? Fight? Cry? What did your fingers look like? Beyond prunes I'm sure ;)

  10. When I heard the ice cream truck, i looked to my right to see my daughters all grown up, remembering when Ava's mom and her aunt Wagma were young, they played in the park in New York City, close to our apartment, and as soon as they heard the ice cream truck come their way, all the kids in the street were running, yet my girls would run to ask me "mom can i have some ice cream too"? Id search my purse for change, so they could get their favorites at the ice cream truck. I enjoyed watching them enjoying something special. So the other day at the water park, when i heard once again the bells of the truck ring, my memory flashed back 28 years ago. So I asked Ava, "would u like the same kind of ice cream your mommy use to like"? she said "yes Grandma" with a smile, so i took her hand and we all went to get ice cream. Now all i have to say is Thank you Zarlacht for writing this story and taking me back in time to remember the good times.
    Zarlacht Jaan, your a very talented writer and I'm very proud of you. Love always,
    your mother,

  11. the pictures are adorable Zarlacht!

  12. MOM! I have been crying. Thank you Mom! For so much.

    For giving me a childhood full of memories like these. We didn't have much growing up - but when I think back to moments like these, I feel that I had so much more - especially for a childhood filled with an appreciation for my parents and the moments in between.

    Thank you so much for keeping the traditions going - with my children. Ava & Noah adore you so much. Seeing you with them reminds me so much of you with us when we were little. I'm so blessed.

    Thank you for always encouraging my creativity - with the composition book I filled in 2nd grade with words and pictures - and you'd show them off to everyone who visited us...

    It's no surprise that what I write about today with my whole heart is my family - and my childhood ;)

    And now, you are here, online! contributing to my blog!

    You're the best MOM! I love YOU.

  13. Roshana - so sorry we missed you at the splash park. But Ava still asks when "Ro-Ro" is coming over for a swim! She had such a great time with you the last time you were over. When things settle down for you with school - do come over for a splash day with us all. I love you little sis!

  14. Oh, my god... What a beautiful family you have. And your mother...
    I'm better now. My fingers at that time where with blisters for a whole week! I didn't care at all.
    News, news, news...


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