It’s that time again—that cabin fever-nulling, spring’s-soon-a-comin’ April vacation week for the schools. Just when the kids are about to throw their math tests out the window and poison their cubby buddy’s snack-time milk, the schools let them out to bring everyone back to their senses.
So I’m home for the week—my son, who is eleven, is too young to stay home by himself but too old to go to childcare. My task is to entertain him the best I can without going insane myself.
Today, I hung out with him and his friend J, who is thirteen. What a kick in the head that was. Hanging with two pre-pubescent boys and observing their Neanderthal but very charming behavior. For six hours straight, they punched themselves in the biceps, chased each other down the hall with swords and plastic spears, and sucked the life out of juice pouch after juice pouch (asking for a new snack every five minutes). Oh, and they also spent quality time whaling fake tennis rackets after a virtual ball playing on the Wii.
They begged me to go play wiffleball outside—it was 70 degrees and sunny, after all. J. had sustained an injury from one of their living room brawls (bruised toes) so he really couldn’t run that well, and who would go after the ball when they hit it into the outfield?
While I would have much preferred ironing summer clothes or cleaning out the Tupperware cabinet, I gave in. It was vacation, after all—I should at least play with my kid.
They were quite generous with the rules, giving me seven outs per inning for every three of theirs. Still, they managed to hit four grand slams while the best I hit was a double.
My poor results were not because I’m a girl, or because I’m nonathletic. The results were simply because the boys played with more passion than I did. They gave it everything they had. They hit each ball like it was the last time they’d ever see a grapefruit pitch. They ran the bases, even with J. limping, while I mostly stayed on home plate and we decided together whether my hit was a single or a double.
I was outside—it was fun—and we did laugh a lot. But my heart wasn’t 150 percent in it the way theirs was. I was anxious to get back to my work email that was piling up and thinking about how I hadn’t cleaned our bathtubs in three weeks. My mind was elsewhere—theirs was right on that plastic ball and how it whistled when it whipped past my ear after a particularly hot pitch. Need I say more? They won 21-5.