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!"