Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This afternoon

This afternoon, I lay in my bed looking out the picture window to the leaves falling in the backyard. I was deep in thought when the voices of about 5 little boys running through the leaves distracted me. I watched as my sons and their friends dodged and ducked each other, running between trees and jumping over exposed roots.
Eventually, they all clambered onto the trampoline – and my heart skipped a beat. Normally, only 2-3 kids jump at once, but there were 5 boys ages 7, 9, 10 and 11 jumping at once. All of a sudden I heard my 7-year old scream out and fall to the side. The other kids stopped jumping and ran to his side. I don’t think I took a breath during the 30 seconds that he lay still. All of a sudden he jumped up, laughing and screaming, “I got you, I tricked you!” And my breathing returned to normal and my heart starting beating again.
I continued to watch as they created games – grabbing stray balls from the ground below and aiming them at each other as they jumped and flipped on the trampoline. It was dangerous, but they didn’t care. They played with total abandon, not worried if 1 of them fell off. I watched amazed as 1 boy then another would topple over the edge onto the ground. He’d gingerly pick himself up, dust off the dirt and leaves, and climb back up to return to the game.
I immediately thought of my life as an adult. When did I stop playing with abandon and fear? When was the last time I allowed myself to fall off the edge, get up, dust off, and climb back in the game? When had I faced an oncoming ball head-on and jumped and dodged to stay out of the way, but was still laughing and excited about the challenge?
Sometimes I revert to the child I was. Playing hard, laughing hard, not caring if I fall down or get cut and bruised. But sometimes I’m concerned about how the game might affect my budget, my roles as a wife and mother, my position as a business owner and community leader. The trick is to find the balance – balance between playing with abandon and enjoying all that life has to offer (both the jump over the ball and the fall to the ground), and being mindful of the realities of being a responsible adult.
I’m determined to treat my current journey like a wild game of dodge ball on a trampoline with too many people. Bring it!

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