I drove home knowing that I was going straight to bed as soon as I walked in the door. It had been a busy day. My headache would not go away. And I was exhausted.
Earlier that morning I had promised my son that we would play football after school. He hadn't forgotten. When he came home he ran upstairs and asked if we were still playing. I love how once you plant a happy seed in a child's mind, it continues to grow all day. I knew he was looking forward to it. And I really had planned on playing football with him.
I told him, maybe latter Buddy, Daddy doesn't feel well. You can imagine how this went over with a four year old. I actually drifted off to sleep, all the while hoping my son would either forget or find another activity to engage him that evening.
By the the time I woke up it was dark. It appeared that I had gotten out of playing football. I'm not going to lie, I was a little relieved. I was feeling better, but was content to just chill the rest of the night.
Then the door opened. And I heard a little voice say, Daddy are you ready to play? I was under the covers and could have easily pretended I was still asleep. But could I really? I was feeling better.
Sure, let's do it!
He was so excited. His reaction alone was worth it. He came over to where I was lying down. He noticed I was having trouble removing myself from the blankets I had buried himself in. So he started to help me unpeel the layers.
I put on my slippers, he put on his Crocs and out we went. We let my daughter know just in case she wanted to join us. It ended up being one of the most enjoyable nights of my life. Even though it was only March, it felt like a midsummer night. I'm not certain, but I think every star in existence was out. I found a Jack Johnson album to play on my phone, because it just felt like that kind of night. And we began to play.
Truth be told, we played football with a small-round-foam soccer ball. But when you're four you don't care. The rules are there are no rules. My son gets the ball. Most of the time. He lines up on his side. I line up on mine. And then I have to say HUT . He takes off running and I pretend to try to tackle him. His giggles are worth every missed tackle.
After a little while my daughter came out and we had even more fun. She always plays on his team. We looked at the stars. I was able to point out the Big Dipper to them. My daughter pointed to the star she calls Pop Pop Jay's Star. It represents my dad who she never got to meet. She can always find it, no matter where we are. I think that's no coincidence.
We played a little bit longer and as you can imagine, when I said it was time to go in my son was not happy. He actually stormed in ahead of my daughter and I. We shared a giggle, but we made sure he didn't see us. It's never wise to upset a four year old. And after a few minutes he was fine.
I am certain that I have written a piece very similar to this before and so I debated even writing this one. But then I thought. Why not? Why would I hesitate to share such a wonderful evening? If the telling of this story makes just one person smile, it will have been worth it.
I am glad that my son didn't give up on me. I am glad I got my lazy a$% out of bed and decided to play football. Because if I hadn't, I would have missed out on one of the best nights of my life. And that would have been a shame.
“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.”
(My son & daughter planning their secret play)
*I can't make this up. As I am finishing up this piece, my son has come upstairs and asked to play HUT. I am literally in the editing process of this piece!. I told him fifteen minutes.
So he put the timer on!
He just hollered up, Seven Minutes !
How can I push publish and not play HUT with him again?
There went the timer.
Tonight' game may be a little shorter but...
The stars are out again.
Wish me luck.