“Let’s try to get to 100 without missing, ok?” I’d say to my friend while standing in the middle of my long gravel driveway smack dab in the country. With leather baseball gloves on our hands we’d spend hours as kids tossing a yellow tennis ball back and forth… the same tennis ball that doubled as my dog’s chew toy.
We’d play for hours and it was simple, and it was awesome.
The days of catch with my dear friend decades ago can sometimes feel like, ‘just yesterday.’ I couldn’t have imagined that one day I’d be right back in the repetitive throws of the good old game of catch with my own children.
But in the present here I stand in the middle of the grass field with my four boys surrounding me. By my feet there are three soccer balls. My coordination skills are on the verge of being tested. There is a Nerf football in my hands, the one I bought on a whim for $5 one day at the store. Maybe I should have bought two, I wonder.
“Pass it to me Mom!” He yells in unison with his brothers. And so I kick the soccer balls to three of them one after another while throwing the football to the fourth son waiting expectantly before me.
It’s a good plan. It’s a well constructed and thoughtful plan… UNTIL, they all receive their balls and start sending them back to me.
And by ‘back to me,’ I most definitely mean, ‘BACK AT ME.’
Suddenly I’m standing in that same grass field with soccer balls flying towards me while a football is simultaneously whipped at my head. It’s exciting and chaotic and completely labelled as an ‘outdoor activity,’ although they’ve tried many times to play this same game in our 800 sq. foot apartment.
I send them flying back, one at a time, and the process begins all over again.
“Tree break!” I announce after awhile. I grab my sweater and make myself a resting spot under the big leafy tree. I’m staring out at the water in front of me watching seaplanes taking off and landing. Bikers are whizzing by on the path a few yards in front of us.
One of the boys grabs the Star Wars lunch kit and starts unloading the snacks we’ve brought for such a time as this. Fruit bars, granola bars, all things made in the shape of a bar are dispensed. Unwanted bananas are left behind, every single time. Two water bottles are passed around and willingly shared between four brothers simply because this routine has been repeated so often.
Two of them are sitting on top of me, while another is squished in right beside me. The fourth is rummaging through the stroller in disbelief and disappointment that we didn’t pack more snacks. Eventually he finds a seat beside the rest of us.
This is one of our regular routines right now. Soccer balls, snack breaks, seaplane observation… There’s been an occasional daisy chain lesson with my boy who is forever picking weeds, flowers, grass, tree roots… whatever is pickable for his mama.
It’s simple. It’s slow. It’s ordinary. And yet it’s perfection I don’t want to dismiss.
Because I am certain in a few more years, these present days? They too are going to feel like, ‘just yesterday.’