The Work Of Children

My wife took the week off – from us, me and our two oldest kids.  She lifted off two days ago to visit her sister in New York, eat anything she wants whenever she wants and sleep far more than anyone beyond college should.  She’ll be chowing on Junior Mints at a movie for the first time in months and savoring leisurely conversations about nothing weighty without the threat of whining or diaper changing to break the pace.  She’ll do no dishes, cook no meals, buy no groceries, declare no time-outs, clean no clothes and tidy no rooms.  She’s free to do nothing or everything she wants.  It’s Becky’s week of jubilee.

And I’m walking in her shoes while she’s away.  Learning not to work.  Learning how to be a kid again.  My computer gets little face time.  My cell phone isn’t charged.  And my butt hasn’t hit a seat except to take in the usual episode of Sesame Street in the morning and Clifford The Big Red Dog in the afternoon.

I’m surprisingly good at being juvenile.

The kids and I (Gabriella 4, Gresham 2) rolled out of bed a little later than usual this morning.  And instead of a healthy flack seed and raisin cereal from the whole-food store wetted with soy milk (blech!) we took a field trip to the Donut Palace to learn about how Daddy ate when he was a kid.  We stuffed our faces with chocolate donuts, the ones with jumbo sprinkles on top, and chased them down with some sprite.

Of course a resourceful kid who’s good at her job can always find something to do with an unnecessary cereal bowl.

And after the sugar hit our bloodstream we needed somewhere to run around. So we put on clothes that didn’t match at all and headed to kid Heaven: Pump It Up.  (Send free Pump It Up passes to POBox 680055, Franklin, TN 37068) This place takes the moonwalk blow-up box from the carnies of my youth, adds more color than a Toby Mac show and boosts it by a couple stories, creating the biggest softest easiest way to spend an hour with two kids in Nashville.  And parents are allowed to play too.

Though most parents today stood in clusters complaining about their husbands or the job market.  Too tethered to cell phones or their age to get on all fours and do the work of children.  Truth is for most of us old folks play is the hardest work – work that’s avoided.  But for now it’s work I can’t wait to wake up to.

Tomorrow Gabriella’s promised to paint my nails blue and silver before we hit the Zoo and maybe the mall’s carousel, with pretzels in hand of course.  The next day maybe an art museum or a puppet show, or maybe we’ll just sit around in our underwear eating Cheetos and watching videos or playing with Gresham’s extensive collection of Matchbox cars.  There’s no dress code with this job.  And no need to act my age.