It began just as all of our other pre-bedtimes began, attempting to run down his energy, to get him prepared for bed. He had begged to go outside and I had been dreading it. It was hot. The kind of hot that takes your breath away and your clothes immediately stick to you the minute you walk outside. I waited him out as long as I could - until the sun had set in the sky and the temperature had cooled to tolerable. But finally I relented to give him one last mini-adventure before we turned in for the night. So out we went.
It started innocently enough. I found the orange squirt gun sitting on a ledge in the breezeway. We thought we had lost it long ago. The purple reservoir was broken near the top, but when screwed in to the base, it still retained water. I filled it up in his water table, and handed him the yellow squirt gun sitting nearby, also filled with water. I pulled the trigger and water flew directly onto his chest. I braced myself, not knowing how his pre-bed attitude would be. To my surprise, he laughed hysterically and then began shooting at me with his own gun. We chased each other around and around the driveway, behind the car, hiding and jumping out at just the right moment, pausing only to refill our small water guns.
And then Brandon came out and saw what we were up to. We were out of water guns so he grabbed the hose. The hose! He sprayed us both as we ran and laughed, attempting to double team him with our dollar store guns. Henry and I were soaked immediately and the water was cold. But still, we laughed. We all laughed. Brandon eventually put the hose down and grabbed one of Henry's water toys, making it just a bit more fair.
"Time Out!" we'd call as we stopped by the water table for refills. But of course, time-out's don't always work. And as retaliation for the hose, I scooped and splashed Brandon, drenching him, bringing him to our level of cold and shivering. For thirty minutes our epic water battle continued, our laughter floating through the air, around the neighborhood. Our attempts to outdo one another. Trying not to slip and fall in our wet flip flops.
At the end, I called it quits first and went to grab towels for my fellow warriors. Brandon quickly followed. Henry continued to fill and dump, fill and dump - on his feet, my feet, Brandon's feet. He didn't want the moment to end, and truth be told, neither did I.
There are so many times that I wonder if we do enough, if we provide Henry with enough fun, enough time with us both since we work full-time. There aren't enough times that we embrace the moments like this and just enjoy the water battles, no matter the time, the place, the mess that will have to be cleaned up.
But last night we did. And it's sure to be a night that goes down in our family record books. Hartley Epic Water Fight, Summer 2016. Worth every bone-chilling moment.