Fun And Relaxation

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“Mom, I just want you to get to relax.” said my youngest as we trudged up the poison ivy covered hill at the spill over at Barton Springs.

This made me laugh because it was infinitely clear how kids don’t understand one thing about what it is to be a parent, and how parents forget what it is to be kids.

Just prior to this little wish for me, we’d gone to the spill over, fishing poles in hand, bait in bag with a PROMISE that the eldest would just manage his fishing on his own and not worry me with hooks or worms or tangles and that he’d spend time swimming with me and his younger brother, or they’d just focus on the water while I read my book. Which I forgot in the frenzy of trying to get out of the house.

And that didn’t happen of course. What happened was younger child asking me to go swimming while the older child asked me to bait hooks, scare fish, while the younger child had to go to the bathroom, while the older child was mad he couldn’t find crawfish, while the youngest child wanted to fish too, and then they both fought over a spot in the water and then they both yelled at each other, and then the lines got tangled and my mood got mangled.

Then the youngest told me to relax.

I have memories of going to this place near my home town, a shoals of sorts, where we’d cook out and play in the water by the rocks. I don’t have a lot of memories of that place, but I do remember it taking FOREVER to get there (probably only 30 minutes), FOREVER to get permission to just get in the damn water, and FOREVER to get home. I also remember getting scrapes, bruises and having a lot of fun and begging to go every weekend.

I don’t remember talking to my mother hardly at all, but I wonder if I as needful to her as my children were to me today, if I asked for this, for that, for the bathroom, for a coke, for a net, for water shoes, for food, for her to come with me to SEE THIS, see that. I do remember the grownups always had lots of beer with them! Maybe I should have taken beer with me. Lord knows there was plenty of it out there on the water.

I don’t know. I know we have had a number of times like that where the boys come home exhausted and to me, the day has been a damn lot of hard work and generally they’ve spatted at each other like cats and dogs, and they say, “Oh that was so much fun!” and I have to wonder how strange it is we can live in such different universes, based on age and perception.

But what strikes me is that in their minds, all of it-the frustration, the fretting, the frolic, the need, the scrapes and irritation…it’s all relaxing. It’s all part of the fun.

And that perhaps is something grown-ups (or just me?) forget about. Or we’ve been too convinced that Order rather than Chaos is the way to go. Or we decide beer is the lubrication that slides us into fun, a fun that perhaps kids with their creative brains understand far better than adults.

Maybe kids just have energy and we don’t!

What’s telling though, about the entire scenario is that in all of it, my boys wanted me to relax and have fun (and it must have been clear in the mess and tangle of poles and bait that I wasn’t) and what a gift that is that they wanted that for me.

Sometimes they know better than we do.

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