Thursday, July 18, 2013

Playing Jacks and Listening

Monday morning, approximately 10am: a knock at the door signaled the arrival of a neighborhood boy asking if he could play. We welcomed him in, and the usual chaos of a houseful of happily playing children ensued. A couple hours later I was fixing lunch when I heard him use the word "sexy" a couple times. I picked my jaw up off the floor and bit my tongue before barking out, "Excuse me, what did you just say?" in a harsh, demanding tone.

In my opinion, 6-year-old boys shouldn't know that word. I don't think he knew what he was saying. But I still don't want any of my kids exposed to that word for a long, long time. Call me archaic. I'm OK with that.

The next day I took the kids to play at a local museum that showcases life from an earlier era. It has a dugout for the kids to explore, an old "mine" for them to play in, a one-room school house, a quaint old country store, and a farm. My kids can spend hours pretending to milk cows, get eggs from the chicken coop, fish in the stream, play in the old kitchen or school room, or dig in the mine. I love the museum for its portrayal of a simpler lifestyle. The kids love it for all the hands-on exhibits.

So once they all got settled playing I looked for a place to sit down and doze (I mean, supervise the kids). I was feeling third-trimester tired and wishing I had a pillow and blanket to curl up somewhere, but that's not very socially acceptable at such facilities. Then Jake came up with a basket of kids toys from days gone by--jacks, a bean bag toss, etc. He wanted to play with me.

I was tired and my back was hurting, but I got up and played anyway. Perhaps because the language of neighborhood boys reminds me that my kids are growing up way too fast. Perhaps because all my kids have spring birthdays and as I watch them age another year, I feel time slipping through my fingers. Perhaps because I had recently attended Jake's kindergarten graduation and couldn't believe how the time had flown.

All too soon my children will be older, want less time around me, and spend less time listening to me. So while they are young I want to play with them when I'm too tired. I want to talk to them when they want to talk. I want to listen to them when they need me. I want to lay the groundwork now so maybe one day, when they've been exposed to things even worse than the word "sexy", they'll still be willing to listen.

No comments:

Post a Comment