As I mentally added items to my morning to-do list, I unintentionally glanced toward the open window. The cool September morning air lingered by the screen unhurried and unmoving in the breezeless stillness whispering to itself, “Fall is coming. Fall is coming.” My mental to-do list seemed to slide out of my ear, down my side, and onto the floor while my own delight refocused my attention. The dewy green grass, while less vibrant in color than when clothed in new spring attire prior to the fading that comes with the daily morning washings and chronic over drying of summer, still looked like thick, shag carpet. Crispy brown leaves from a nearby tree lay on top like a box of dumped out Legos waiting sorting and adventure. Laying there like that the leaves risked annihilation by a lawn mower much like their indoor counterparts risked the vacuum cleaner.
At the thought of vacuum cleaner, my mental to-do list jumped from the floor. Shouldn’t the leaves be mowed or raked – somehow tidied? Isn’t that what I am supposed to do as an adult? Adults don’t have time to play, and, if my to do list is any indication, my son might fit in a few minutes of play between our errands – if he eats breakfast focused without a hundred tales of imaginary friends, and if he gets dressed quickly without giggling while trying to use his pants as a hat and his socks as gloves. Yes, then he might have time to play.
What about me? When do I play? Do I play? I think “relax” finds its way to my goals from time to time. First, I must finish the to-do list that my brain tried to dump, but I think I read something about the health benefits of play in a newsfeed once. I will add play to my list. I do need to work on that goal I set of learning to play the piano. I should exercise which is play if I turn on the TV. Maybe tonight if I am not too tired… Maybe next week… I should probably take care of the leaves first.
Or – maybe I can take just one item off that list today because surely one of those items can wait. Maybe my son and I can go outside together. Instead of pulling up a chair and encouraging him to “go play”, as if “play” is contagious and must occur far away from my adulthood, maybe my adulthood can step nearer to his childhood and together we can discover joy in the stomping of crunchy leaves.