I had a long day today. Back to back meetings, some staff interactions I had to manage and a ton of emails which are yet to be dealt with. On top of that I got stuck behind a slow driver and ended up arriving home feeling cranky and stressed. Then I had the super fun task of preparing dinner when I really just wanted to head face down into the couch.
As I was peeling carrots I heard my teenager yell “hey mum, look at this”. I very rarely hear these words from her anymore. I looked out of the kitchen window into the back yard where she was sitting with the dog. We recently had our backyard re-done and it is lushly green with freshly laid turf* which has benefited greatly from the last few days of rain. Once she knew I was watching she laid on the grass, put her arms above her head and rolled down the slight incline, laughing her head off the whole way. This immediately lightened my mood. The dog seemed to think it was pretty funny too.
After dinner we all went outside to try rolling down the hill. A word to the wise, when you’re headed right into your mid-40’s rolling down the hill can be a dizzy, nausea inducing experience. The kids found the sight of me sitting with my head in my hands hysterically funny and the dog came bounding over and jumped straight on me, apparently checking to see if I was okay. I was.
We then proceeded to throw two different tennis balls for the next half an hour or so. One was for us, one for the dog who tried in vain to make up her mind as to whether she wanted the ball we through for her or the one we were throwing to each other. There was much merriment when the dog got to our tennis ball before we did. There were even a few unintentional doggy somersaults when the back half of her kept going after the front half had stopped to get the ball. We all fell about laughing when this happened.
There’s something so restorative about spontaneous play. Rolling down a grassy incline, throwing a ball, chasing the dog around, enjoying the outdoors. No one was stressed, no one fought (a minor miracle), no one shouted and best of all, no one begged for screen time instead of being outside.
It was a lovely way to shake off the work and school day. It was a lovely way to spend time together that didn’t feel scheduled in amongst everything else. It was a lovely way to get fresh air and exercise which will do us good and didn’t feel like a chore. Playing is a great idea. I highly recommended it.
*Aforementioned lushly green turf