Friday, June 5, 2015

Old Dog, Old Tricks

Propped on one elbow, I read my book on the plaid picnic blanket, splaying its pages face-down whenever a kid flopped next to me to catch his breath or rest her legs.

Trains blared, birds chirped. A pre-schooler in saggy X-Men underwear squealed as Silas chased him through the fountain.

The world belonged to us, and I could have sat there all day, ticking past the pages, my legs stretched out under the shade of the Maple while the air was just a breath around me, perfectly invisible in only the way early-June can be.

Then I heard the rhythmic



bounce of rubber on asphalt, and I'm not sure I've ever stood at a more obvious crossroads.

But I'm no athlete.
I don't exist to entertain my kids.
For the first summer ever, I can sit in the shade and read if I want to. I've earned this honor.

I snapped my hardback shut and flip-flopped over to the sun-soaked court.
When I sank my first shot, they laughed while I yelled.
Every bounce, every ricochet, every air ball, every flip of the net was a promise.

Not to them, but to me.
Not every time, but plenty of them.

I'm so ready to make a fool of myself. I can't wait to show them it's fun to be terrible at a wide range of things. This is the season to dare, to defer, to read lots of novels in the shade, yes, but to pick up that ball/wear that swimsuit/pedal 'til my lungs ache/order the double scoop and not give a single rip when it drips down my chain and onto yesterday's shorts.

My name is Mommy, and I'm a total Baller.
(At least for 40 minutes one random Thursday in June.)


Silas: "Mommy, I didn't know you could run fast like that!"

Silas, an hour later: "Mommy, I can't believe you know how to run even though you're already 38! I didn't know it!"



  1. ...isn't it fun to be a "kid" sometimes - these are the days they will always remember - and you will too!

    1. I should also add...I'm so looking forward to "living this summer" vicariously through you...I really miss those days when the kids were small...enjoy it while you can - because they really do grow up too fast!

  2. Love this!! Your words had me picturing the scene so vividly in my mind. Yes! There is beauty and wonder and promise outside our norm. It's important to surprise our kids and keep them guessing 😉. Happy summer!

  3. Love. I totally played "baseball" with Lily the other day and I am still SO BAD... but it was so fun.

  4. Such a good reminder. Thanks bunches :-)

  5. Truly. It is fun to be terrible at a wide range of things. Somewhere along my longish life road, I learned to measure myself rather than treasure myself. Life is so much more fun when I'm not constantly looking over my shoulder to see who's watching because, of course, no one is - except me. And I'm going to do it anyway!

  6. This is my secret weapon as a teacher, 'cause let me tell you kid I don't care how bad you think you are at basketball I'm a thousand times worse! There just something about making moody pre-teen kids laugh and relax because even at 6'1" they will win a round of 1-on-1 every.single.time.
    Last year I convinced some of them that I couldn't run because I was in the middle of a growth spurt and they actually believed me...I'm 40, the only growing I'm doing is the horizontal variety!

  7. I determined this year that I would teach my kids not to take themselves to seriously (good lesson to myself also at 33). To make a fool of yourself in the name of fun and good memories. Last day of danced with the class and looked like an idiot trying to get her son to join in. You can't just tell them, sometimes you gotta show them that it's ok to not be good at stuff. Love your post, love your words, love that summer is here and my kids are home with me, if just for a few weeks before school is at hand again.

  8. Now that is making memories!!!

  9. This post refreshed my momma soul!

  10. Thank you for writing this. You're right. I used to love playing basketball when I was in my teens. Then I just quit when I was in my "older teens". But a few times I've played with my kids and they were surprised I could even handle the ball at all. I think they suffered this weird mix of emotions teetering between mom being cool and mom being embarrassing, so they didn't know what to do with themselves. Then my son's friend was over one afternoon and we all played together and he went home raving to his mom about how I played with them and it was awesome. And I felt validated in my thirty-something basketball skillz.
    I need to get them out there again! I really forgot all about it!

  11. this my new favorite thing out of your mouth: 'I'm so ready to make a fool of myself. I can't wait to show them it's fun to be terrible at a wide range of things.'

    love. this and you.

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