“Mommy, come play with us!” Micah calls to me as I settle down with my book on the sidelines.
We were at Kiersten’s basketball practice. Normally I carpool with another mom; she takes the girls to practice and I pick them up. The other family was out-of-town, so I was driving Kiersten both ways today. Since it was a fifteen minute drive each way, I decided to just stay at the practice. Plus, it would be fun for the boys. I knew there would be an open court for them to play on, so I brought an extra basketball along. We don’t have a basketball hoop at home, so this would be a treat for them.
And I brought a book for me. I was in the middle of a good book, so I had secretly calculated “reading time” for me while the boys played. I thought I had planned things perfectly by setting the boys up with a fun activity during Kiersten’s practice. I had been anticipating this time all day! Guilt-free pleasure reading!
So I was caught off guard by Micah’s request. Play with them? Couldn’t they just play on their own? I thought they’d go running off without even thinking twice about me. I was flattered that Micah wanted me to join them…but I really wanted to read my book! Reluctantly, I set down my book.
“I’ll give them fifteen minutes,” I thought to myself, as I attempted to steal the basketball out of Micah’s hands. By then I’m sure they’ll be having enough fun that they’ll be fine continuing on their own. I pour myself into the moment, anticipating a reading reward for myself at the end.
But after fifteen minutes, it was just Micah and me…Brennan had become bored. The basket was way too high for him, so he was frustrated. And we only had one ball, so there was nothing else for him to do on his own. My plan wasn’t working.
I came up with a “Plan B.” Take them to a nearby playground. They had never been to this playground before, so it was full of new and exciting possibilities for them. I knew that they would both be happy there. Which meant I could finally read my book!
So, off to the playground we went. Once we arrived, Micah and Brennan went running off immediately to explore their new surroundings. I found a nice bench. Eagerly, I opened my book.
“Mommy!” call two little voices before I can even read the first word, “can you play with us?!”
I sigh deeply. I am so tempted to say no. They can play by themselves. According to my plan, this was supposed to be “my time.” Just taking them here was a special activity.
But then I look at them. Two little blond heads. Two eager little faces. Two precious boys. Two little boys who won’t always be little. Two little boys who won’t always be begging me to play with them. The book will always be waiting for me. These little boys won’t. Some day they will be grown and gone. I’ll wish they were little again. I’ll wish I could play with them again.
It just so happens to be December 14. The day of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I think of those parents who dropped their kids off at school that morning. Those parents who had no idea this was the last time they’d see their child. Those parents who would give anything to hold or play with their child one more time.
I set down my book. The book can wait.