This morning I noticed a bottle of children’s chewable gummy bear vitamins in the bathroom. This, in and of itself, is not so unusual. With two girls in the house, any manner of things can spontaneously appear and disappear in the bathroom. Shrödinger would approve.
It all started just before bedtime, as most amazingly inventive children’s activities do. It seems that desperation of impending bedtimes elicit the most imaginative of creative talents out of children from time immemorial. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Having consumed their nightly portion of ursine-shaped, gelatin-delivered nutritional supplements, something rather unexpected took place. In glorious fashion rivaled only by the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, the bottle magically morphed into a rugby ball.
Here is the picture: parents sitting at their respective desks in the living room, quietly reading. Mom is studiously working on a university paper. Dad is desperately working through the pages of another book, trying to get his Sabbatical reading list complete. The kids, well… the kids are screaming their fool heads off playing an impromptu game of keep away with the bottle of chewable gummy bear vitamins. If this were a toy or a book or an article of clothing, it would have quickly degenerated into an angry, name-calling, screaming match. But this was nothing of the sort. It was play, like two puppies pulling at opposite ends of a rag. The house was filled with loud peals of laughter and squealing, of playful taunts and wrestling (there may have been a suplex involved, but the ref was blocking my view). Up and down the stairs the girls tumbled. Over the couch and on top the cat. The dog, eager to get into the game, sets to barking frantically, waiting to be tagged in. Back through their bedrooms and, apparently, into the bathroom they rolled. It was explosive. It was wild and reckless. It was free. Being the parent with “It’s always fun until someone pokes an eye out” tattooed on my chest, I wait for the inevitable thwump and the resulting shriek of wounded pride. But none came. Spent and satisfied they dropped the vitamin bottle rugby match to pursue their other, more familiar hobbies like not brushing their teeth and not getting into bed.
I need an iPad, and iPhone and laptop computer with expensive software to have fun, and even with those technological marvels I’m rarely more than mildly amused. But here in my house, at 8:45 on a Sunday night, two girls wrestled with a bottle of children’s chewable gummy bear vitamins. And, behold the children called the game fun and God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the next day.