"Do you want to play a game?" my son asked.
Honestly, I didn't. I had just gotten home from work and, as usual, I was exhausted. Two nights in a row of interrupted sleep certainly hadn't helped. I knew, however, that it was important to him. Certainly, I could spare a few minutes before starting dinner to play a game. Besides, how much energy did a game of Battleship or War take?
"Just give me a minute to comment on a few blogs, and then we can play," I told him.
I grabbed my laptop from my bedroom and headed downstairs where I plopped into my chair at the kitchen table. As I was reading blogs and enjoying the recounting of others' slices of their day, Jack walked in carrying two small rackets and a birdie, an impulse buy on our last shopping trip to Target. So, that was the game he had in mind. Inwardly, I groaned. That was going to take a bit more energy.
"I'll just be a few more minutes," I said as he walked past to get to the sliding glass door behind me. I could tell by his slow walk and slumped shoulders that he was upset that I wasn't immediately jumping up from the table and joining him.
I finished my commenting, then took a few extra minutes to check email and the news of the day. I didn't really want to get up out of my chair. It felt good to relax and do nothing after a day of constantly running around. I knew, though, just behind me, my son was hitting a birdie up in the air alone. And I knew that I really should be there with him. It had become too easy to say, "No, not now, I'm tired" or "I can't, I have a lot to do," leaving him on his own to fill up his time. We had recently greatly restricted his screen time, making it even more difficult for him to entertain himself. And truthfully, how many more opportunities would I get to play with him? In the blink of an eye, he would be a teenager, no longer craving time with his parents. In another blink, he would be out in the world on his own, and I would be left regretting that I didn't seize more of these opportunities to push everything else aside to simply spend time with him.
I closed my laptop, pushed back my chair, and opened the door.
"I just need to get my shoes," I hollered. Then, I ran upstairs to grab my shoes and ran back down to the kitchen. I sat only long enough to slip my shoes on before joining my son in the backyard.
I walked over to our patio table and picked up the racket that lay there waiting for me, and my son lobbed the birdie toward me. I was surprised when I made contact and the birdie sailed up into the air in his general direction. We continued to play as the golden rays of the slowly setting sun lit up our yard and our smiling faces. We probably missed more shots than we made, but we talked and laughed and enjoyed every minute of it.
Surprisingly, I no longer felt tired. Every time I watched the birdie fly through the air, my spirit flew with it.