Walking through Festival’s parking lot on late Saturday afternoon, I saw a dad joyfully pushing a grocery cart with two big orange pumpkins inside and two children, one on each side of the cart, hitching a ride.
No sooner had this family passed by me, when I heard huge eruptions of shrieks, laughter and shouts of “I didn’t even notice you did that”. Apparently, Dad, taking advantage of an unusually empty parking lot, had safely let go of the cart momentarily, and gave the children a surprise free-wheeling thrill ride before grabbing hold once again.
I stopped for a minute to observe this interaction – the children immediately begging Dad to “do it again”. By then, however, they were at their car and Dad, in good humor, loaded both pumpkins and children into the car.
Grabbing the moments that we can throughout the day to surprise, amuse and be silly with the children in our lives builds a strong connection with our children, and helps relieve the day-to-day stresses that build up in all of us – both parents and children.
I recall recently watching a family of five enjoy throwing a foam football up in the air on the lawn at Riverside Park. Whoever grabbed the ball first ran with it as the others chased, tackling and falling together, in a good- natured heap, definitely the biggest and most fun part of this informal game.
Something to think about – for all of us – a few minutes of surprise, humor, outright silliness can change the mood, get a job done, multiply the endorphins, make life smoother, create memories, increase the harmony.
I just read this simple enough statistic that our children only have about 900 weeks of childhood with us before they leave home. Yes, I know that’s like almost 18 years, (and that seems like a very long time) but put in terms of weeks and how quickly every week goes by, it seems even more urgent to intentionally fill a few moments of those days with a spirit of joy and playfulness .
Helping to put on a child’s socks can be humorous, taking them off can be too. It just takes a minute to find that giggle spot, whatever and whenever the situation calls for it, that changes the equation from a “have to do” to a “want to do”.
Shared laughter really is the best medicine.
I wonder – how many minutes are in 900 weeks?