It’s ironic to me that I started a piece called “Alive” a couple weeks ago, about the joy of being alive and fully present to each moment, but I am so busy living that I can’t find time to finish it!
I admit, at times my heart aches to pick up the art supplies languishing on my desk. But the wheels of summer seem to roll faster than a little red wagon plummeting down a steep incline. As I wistfully pass by dried-up watercolor and dust-covered pastels, I am trying my best to receive what is as gift. A season that will come and go.
Someday, will I wrestle regret for missed opportunities, or will I relish memories of time spent, soaked in, savored with those I love?
Shorter term, all too soon the grind of early school mornings, tracking special education needs, and evening homework will crowd out our summer freedom. Longer term, my oldest won’t always be 16 years-old and mostly home during the summer between baseball games and practices. Soon those timeslots will fill with jobs and independent navigation, when he no longer relies on me for transportation. My youngest, 10 years-old, won’t always float aimlessly around the house asking, “What are we doing today?” I have a feeling that with this one, it will be tricky to extract her from friends as soon as she can figure out a way to get to them on her own.
I’ve already learned that life spirits away the present moment and sequesters it in the past, faster than I can blink an eye.
So, I am wiling away the hours on baseball fields; chauffeuring four children all over town; breaking up more sibling squabbles than I can count (per day); and gathering up as many family and friends as time allows. There are days my spirit sags under discouragement, plagued with questions about my significance and purpose. But, in the long run, I don’t think I’ll regret it.
This week we hosted twenty-three kids to celebrate our oldest son’s 16th birthday. We stole ideas from his best buddies, and it was a rip-roaring good time. The kids split into two groups along gender lines. Each team received a list of video scavenger-hunt “items” and was tasked to film their progress. The ensuing hours promised to be fascinating enough, simply based on the assignments:
- build a human pyramid
- create a “trick shot”
- go door to door starting with a penny and request an object of equal or greater value in exchange
- create a crime scene and investigate it
- build a lego creation
- Parkour (a new fad of using urban landscape for acrobatics)
The plot thickened when the guys disappeared and the girls couldn’t find their list. They assumed the guys stole it. When one of the guys unsuspectingly wandered into their territory, he was suddenly seized, bound up in “caution” tape, and carted away under squirt-gun-point to a nearby school yard. The girls delivered a ransom note by text: “Give us the list, and we’ll give you your teammate.”
The guys swore they did not have the list. They stopped by our house to stock up on ammunition. Pummeling the girls with water balloons, they staged a successful reconnaissance.
After that deviation and the delivery of a new list, the girls persevered to finish the scavenger hunt. The guys, however, were lured to distraction by our Foosball table. Afternoon rolled into evening in waves of water fights, relay races, flying eggs, dinner and “Green Stuff” (Jacob’s favorite frozen mint pie), cracking-up at the video results of the “scavenger hunt,” whipped cream & Cheetos adhering to faces, and improv complete with a treasure chest of costume items.
I loved every second of it. I reveled in the kids’ vibrancy, thoughtfulness, and in hearing their dreams for the future. I am thankful my life intersected with theirs for a magical afternoon and evening. I am grateful I am alive, and that I could receive this gift.
Art, I am starting to think, is as much the moments that collage our souls as the images we capture on paper.
I’m sure I’ll get back to “Alive” eventually, and it may even appear, finished, in a future blog entry. But, for now, I gotta get ready to drive to Wyoming with my Grandma and a couple kids for Jacob’s baseball tournament…