Ollie has been begging me for weeks. Each night as I pull the covers up to his chin, it’s the same question.
“When can we go to Lost in Fun?”
This indoor game park is a four-year-old’s paradise with ball pits, leveled climbers, and huge jumping pillows.
So after what feels like the one-millionth bedtime ask, I realize we’ve got to go. We decide to head up one weekday evening.
As we pull into the parking lot, Ollie’s seat belt un-clicks faster than I can turn the key to shut off the engine. Inside he tosses his shoes into the storage cubbies, and he’s off.
I follow him through his excitement and eventually see him fling his tiny blonde body out into the empty big-kid ball pit.
I look at the sea of cushy round pillows. . . no other kids in sight. . . and I get an idea. I’m not sure if it’s against the Lost in Fun rules, but I jump. As I spring up from the center of the cushions, Ollie’s eyes grow wide with giggles as he realizes what I’ve done. Soon we’re in an all-out ball-pit war as he flings one cushion at my head and then the next.
Soon we’re covered and laughing as I roll over trying to get my footing. And then I try again.
“Well this is lovely,” I think, as my foot awkwardly misses a third time–and a forth–until I know I’m stuck like some kiddie-park mom beached whale.
I struggle against it for a bit, wiggling this way and that, as the round pillows cascade in like fire swamp quick sand.
Tired and seemingly out of options, I give up. I lay back and look around.
Between two pillows, my son’s freckly grin peeks through, just close enough to tickle. Soon we’re rolling and laughing again as Charli barrels in to join us. After the second round of tickle-fights, she shoves over toward the edge and grabs the helpful exit rope attached to the wall.
It’s been there the whole time.
I grab it too and fairly easily find my way out of the pit. . . and out of any pride that I might have had left.
And I can’t help but laugh at myself and wonder, how often am I just flailing around in life? How often am I so focused on what’s not working, that I can’t see what’s right in front of me? How often–if I just stop and look around in gratitude–will the next steps simply come, find me, and show me the way?
These thoughts quiet as I return to kids who’ve retrieved their shoes from the cubbies. After hugs goodbye (to an awesome aunt who came to play while I ran some errands), it’s time to head home. The kids sleep on the car ride home and zombie walk up to their beds. I pull the covers up under Ollie’s little chin, and he yawns as he asks with his eyes shut, “When can we go to Lost in Fun again?”
I pause, and for what feels like the one million and first time I say, “We’ll see honey, we’ll see.”
Gratitude Dare: Get outside and take a picture of something that sparks gratitude.
For the entire month of gratitude dares, print the easy-peasy calendar at https://goo.gl/4FhXQH.