I’m picking up speed, courtesy of the decision to lay flat on my back. I’m approaching the bottom at a supersonic speed. Just enough time to clasp my nose and take a breath.
I completely submerge as I feel my bottom bounce off bottom. I break through the surface to see my husband doubled over in laughter.
What the heck?
“Mom, was it fun? Did you have fun? Are you going again?”, Madi rants as she climbs out of the pool and proceeds back toward the water slide of doom.
“Why are you laughing at me?”, I inquire as I follow her to certain death.
We go again. Faster. More fun. More exhilarating than the first time.
And they’re still laughing at me as I surface!
At this point, I’m insulted. It’s like they’ve never seen me have fun before.
“You know”, I say with my best pouty voice, “I’m not a stick in the mud. I do know how to have fun.”
The trouble is, they don’t see me do it very often.
Why is that?
This is the first summer that I can remember in 15 years in which I have not had a child under the sacred height of 36 inches. To date, I have been confined to the kiddy area only.
At the pool. Water parks. Amusement parks. The park. McDonald’s Playland.
Saying things like:
“Go down the slide, not up it.”
“Brown Alert! Gross.”
“Don’t lick that.”
Herding short people has been my business. But now my people aren’t so short anymore. And, they’re adrenaline junkies like their dad.
Bigger + Bolder+ Faster = Better
I mean, sometimes, I just want to sit down and read. Take a nap. Make up on some of the sleep I lost when they were babies. Yet sitting on the sidelines to watch my growing kids have fun is just, well, boring. Because I want to be a part of it, too!
I’m noting the innate need for parents to be deemed “cool” in the eyes of their kids in this generation. That’s not what I’m talking about. I have no desire to dress like my kids, talk like my kids or even be accepted by their friends as part of the “in” crowd.
I am the mom therefore I must be uncool sometimes. The mom card demands it.
However, I can play with my kids and enjoy the activities they enjoy doing. Just because I’m used to sitting on the sidelines doesn’t mean I am sentenced there for life. Even when it does mean I’m going to look a bit silly sometimes.
It means climbing to the top of a ten story slide and bearing the bruises on my knees for the week to follow.
Sometimes, it means tossing a football or a baseball in the front yard.
Standing on the edge of a cliff when I want to retreat to the safety of the trail.
A pick up foot race on the way to the car.
Careening down a water slide while the rest of the party pooping moms are laying in their chairs catching some rays.
Yes, I called you a party pooper. (I still love you & I’m secretly jealous).
Sledding. In the snow. Down a hill. Voluntarily. (insert smile here)
Playing with my family gives me the chance to show them a well rounded wife and mom. It requires me to put down the camera and challenge myself physically. To break out of my comfort zone on the sideline and step into the game, even when it’s terrifying for all who witness the spectacle.
It gives us all something to laugh about at the end of the day.
“Did you see mom when she…”
I’m rediscovering how to play with my family.
How, today, can you engage yours?