Bending the Rules

Posted by Michelle Wheatley on

It's been rainy here in New Jersey the past few days. Yesterday was especially dreary, so we spent a lot of time inside, which included a lot of tv watching while snuggling up under a blanket.

When the sun graces us with a brief (but always glorious!) appearance, it's not easy to go outside and play. The grass is often too soggy to run around in the backyard without it turning into the messiest slip 'n slide ever. My mom's voice that resides in my head advises me that I can't go outside.

Part of me understands the rationale behind this voice. Of course I don't want to replace the future bald spots in the yard, No, I would not like to have mud tracked through my house.

Then the "But MOOOM!" part of me shows up. What if I could find a way to play outside safely with my son without creating the biggest mess ever??

And it turns out, there was a great solution to my dilemma. There are tennis courts near our community park that not only are fenced in; they're also usually empty during our play time.

We don't actually play tennis there. I worry about pelting my toddler in the head with a tennis ball, so we instead run around the nets and chase tennis balls. That is, we do that until actual tennis players approach. Then we leave them to do what the courts are designed for.

When we're running around the courts, bouncing balls and kicking them wherever we wish with no regard to the lines and their meanings, it's liberating. I kinda feel like a kid again. The goal might be to race my son from one line to another, or to throw the ball as high as possible, or to identify the random bug crawling across the court. It's simple, and my son's smile & laughter are contagious.

The tennis courts are my new happy place. My son now asks to go rather than asking to hit up the park - so it may be his new happy place, too.

Where's your happy place? Does the responsible voice in your head approve??


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