Experience

Play Time!

Yesterday, I went to the gym. 🤣 Just kidding, but I certainly feel as if I did.

My cherished friends invited me over. These are the ones I see almost weekly. Among them is a 2-1/2 year old named Jack.

Often, when Jack looks around a nearly empty room, he says, “Where are my people?” Can I tell you how blessed I am to be among them?

Jack is our leader. At dinner time, we ask him where he wants each of us to sit. And if he changes his mind halfway through, we move…without question. When he wants to be outside, we’re outside…even in the Texas summer heat. When he wants to play, we are powerless to say no. This boy is so intently creating his own reality, each of us morphs into one with more energy and more athleticism when we play with him (with the possible exception of his dexterous dad).

Sometimes, he takes my hand. He wants, “not you!” but me. When you’ve been chosen, you’ve been chosen. There’s no getting out of it!

The first sport we played was balloon-soccer-vollyball. Flexibility manifested in my body out of no where, which I certainly noticed.

At one point, the balloon popped over the fence. I decided to take him with me on the journey to retrieve it. Certainly a neighbor wouldn’t fret seeing a child in my arms.

Inspiration flows easily, and a thought popped in. So I held him up high enough to look over the tall fence back to his own yard. Once he saw his family, he yelled, “Hello people!” My heart lit up once again.

Next up, we played Tee-ball. I can’t tell you how many times he hit that plastic ball right at me! I wished I had my softball mitt with me, in fact, I need to remember to put it in my truck. Whether he hits a ball or throws it, if it strikes you, it’s gonna hurt! I’m gonna need protective gear when he advances to real sports balls!

Speaking of balls…on a previous visit to his home, he insisted that I take off my shoes and climb into his ball pit with him. This pit is akin to a flimsy kiddie pool. It is probably about 36” in diameter and filled with these hollow plastic balls that are soft enough to crush.

I resisted; I negotiated; I sat on the floor and right up to the edge; but he wasn’t buying anything I sold. He simply stated his desire over and over again…until I relented.

I stepped into the pit carefully and shimmied my way down for the sake of the balls. My big feet, and my nearly biggest ever belly did not fit easily. But I made it in.

As the balls splashed over me, so did the magic. Suddenly, I too was 2-1/2 years old. Silliness and joy were the only emotions. Laughter was vastly abundant. Thank God for these little bundles of joy.

Back to yesterday. After dinner, Jack wanted to scoot (ride scooters). There’s one his size and one for an adult. He and I walked one block over in the gorgeous dusk, then scooted up and down a Healthy Street—one closed to general traffic so people can walk and ride…and scoot.

At one point, Jack, in his usual way, insisted that we scoot in circles. I get dizzy easily, but I didn’t argue. We, by chance, scooted in opposite directions and laughed every time we passed each other. One lap, he was focused on the road and didn’t see me approaching. I intentionally scooted close by. Right as I was passing him, he caught sight of me and laughed and laughed and laughed. “I didn’t see you that time,” he said repeatedly with that beautiful grin and laughter underneath.

As it got darker, he was sated enough and we headed home. As we scooted that last block, a young couple walked up the street. They caught sight of my handsome buddy and watched him intently. When he finally saw them, he said, “How are you doing?”—emphasized nearly like Joey in Friends. By the way, this was the first day I heard him start saying that!

The young couple were absolutely tickled as they responded.

And so was I.

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