The kids (5 and 7) recently asked me to play basketball with them. Having turned into a lame adult somewhere in the last 8 years, I thought of a million reasons why I shouldn’t – dishes in the sink, laundry on the couch, packing for the upcoming move, an article I needed to finish up. The list, as most adults know, could go on for days and days and days. But something deep inside of me told me to seize this moment, so I headed outside to a perfectly beautiful summer day, a Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball my husband had bought the kids on a recent trip, and a 6-foot Fisher Price goal.
My radar immediately shot up as my oldest, completely out of character, attempted to trash talk, saying haughtily, “Momma, we know skills.” Trying not to giggle at her adorable attempt at intimidating me, I gave them the ball to start. As they discussed whether to inbound with a bounce pass or to just try and run it past me, my mind wandered to the millions of other things I “should” have been doing. Come on. Just inbound the ball.
The first few plays went quickly by. I stole a couple of passes and went up by 6 points. Playing against the kids made me feel like an NBA player – in stature and skills. Slowly, my youngest started playing defense like Manu Ginobli (one of our favorite players from the San Antonio Spurs). I just couldn’t shake the kid. And soon it was halftime. The kids were up by 4 points… and I hadn’t thought of the dishes in at least 15 minutes.
After a mandatory rest and water break, (“We’re really wearing you out, Momma!”) we returned to the sunny driveway. At this point, I had forgotten my pride, the dishes, laundry, moving and work. I was living in the moment – a skill that all children seem equipped with. A skill that somewhere along the way most of us adults lose.
We were playing first to 40. As my youngest scored the final basket and immediately started a victory dance that only Terrell Owens would be jealous of, my daughter finally got the trash talking down. “I told you we got skills, Momma!” And I thought to myself, “Yes, yes you do. Skills that I can really use.”