You Cannot Dribble a Pumpkin

8 Oct

Mother Nature and I seem to have reached a compromise — I get to wear boots and sweatercoats in the morning as I take the kids to school, and then the temperatures rise so I’m wearing sundresses and sandals when I pick them up.

Today was the annual kindergarten field trip to a local pumpkin patch. I took my youngest to school in the AM, and he came home at noon covered in stickers and clutching a little pumpkin — a pumpkin he really really really wants to use as a basketball.

My eldest informs me he is to play a mirror in the upcoming school recital. I figure a cheap dorm mirror from Target and some duct tape should do as a costume, right?

When I was waiting in my car for eldest to get out of school today, I looked across the park and saw a gaggle of kids standing inside the school fence, jumping up and down in unison. Then they took off tearing toward the fence, pell mell tumble bumble, shrieking, and flailing their arms like Phoebe Buffay on a run through Central Park. It was some sort of race because that same dash was repeated in waves. There were the athletic kids in the lead, pushy boys rough-housing along the perimeter, and girls in sparkly pink princess gowns were scattered throughout (there were a lot of them, for some reason). One tall blond boy jogged cheerfully in the wake of the others, loping with such bounding grace it was clear he could run faster, he was just happy where he was.

I’m not sure why, but the scene really got to me — the joy, the shrieks, the different flavors of kid. I flashed back to my own childhood and its joys and anxieties, and my unwitting thought was, “It’s all still happening.” Just to new generations of kids.  On my best day, I still feel like this whole grown-up thing is no more than a never ending game of make believe, and it’s scary to realize I’m responsible for a few kids of my own when I still am one  (just exhausted out of my mind and wondering what the hell is going on with my face).

The blond boy in the back of the clamoring mob gets to me the most. It’s the kind of contented confidence I want for my boys. It’s the kind of carefree peace I want for myself. But, as a kid, I was always somewhere in the middle, trying my best to be invisible like a rabbit surrounded by wolves. And it remains to be seen where my boys land. I hope I can help them land in a good place.

You’ll have to click through to YouTube to watch the video.


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