The Enchanted Forest is a hydraulic masterpiece. The park is set against Douglas firs, and it’s a stone’s throw away from Weyerhaeuser, the northwest lumber giant. I surprised Jake with a late afternoon trip to the land of Enchantment. It is directly connected to Wild Waves Water Park.
Jake leaves tomorrow for a week of over-night camp. I figure that bonding time is in order. We meet up with other friends and hit a few water rides together. Eventually Jake wants to break off. He is not the thrill-seeking type. His buddies like to hit the water rides that have four story drops. Jake likes to bob and duck dive in the wave pool. This type of attraction is more our pace.
I first see the Pirate while we are getting tossed around in the hydraulic induced waves of the wave pool. Jake and I go to investigate. The classic one-eyed marvel is actually a large, 100 gallon tea cup. The attraction is called the Caribbean Pirate Adventure. A huge rush of water fills the Pirate’s bandanna covered head until eventually the enormous head begins to rock back and forth. The water forces the head over, and a large volume of water hits the entire activity center from six stories above.
The water is extremely cold for this Caribbean activity. The Wild Wave architects do not want you to dawdle. The structure has water coursing throughout it’s metal veins. Cold water splashes you from above, it squirts from the side + a constant geyser surprises you from below. It is a barrage of water chaos. “Come on, Dad lets go for it.” The tea cup Giant starts to teeter.
I hate cold water. I need to surrender. So I do. Jake reaches for my hand and grips it tightly. We go together. Water soaks us, in a biblical way. We laugh our asses off. Now cold and extremely wet we scale to the top of the structure. A purple tube wraps around one end of the structure like an Olympic luge track. The objective is to hurl straight down without a tube or mat — your body is the projectile. Not my idea of fun. I surrender.
I surrender to every single moment for the rest of the day. Jake has such joy on his face. He tackles a wave in front us. At one point, the setting sun plays against the water, dancing on the light that give Jake’s face an unnatural glow. The moment of pure joy brings tears to my eyes. This frozen image is made possible only by surrendering to its sweet rhythms.
I realize now that parenting is not the sum of rules laid down or strict guidelines for behavior. To be a parent is more than just being a chauffeur or a cook or a maid. All your kid wants is your complete attention.
Twelve year old boys are consumed by thoughts of themselves. They are swallowed up by what their peers think. When you have the chance to surrender to the One Eyed God, embrace the moment with the child you love. Don’t be distracted, don’t be afraid, stay focused, be with your kid.
My friend said that his son was active in their lives for 18 years. They shared meals, arguments and hundreds of conversation. Now he is in college across the country. My friend says he will be lucky if he see his son for more than a month over the course of this entire year. One month… in a year. Crazy — right?
Enchanted days like these are as fleeting as summer.