Today our family joined other families for kickball and supper, just hot dogs and chips. Paper plates, plastic cups with room temperature lemonade and ketchup, mustard and Texas Pete available as condiments. It was not an unbelievable dinner, a meal to finish off a late afternoon kickball game and a couple hours of being completely available to our children. Dads were grilling and moms were leading the games, games with loose rules and explained by reluctant teenage daughters who seemed to surprise themselves with their confidence in leading the silly group.
Perhaps the moms were not as intimidating in this scenery, no high heels allowed, faces were wiped clean, no fresh makeup wasted for outdoor activities. Being that the ground was our stage and sitting space, there was no opportunity for body posture to seem aloof or distant, rigid backs and crossed arms impossible contortions on the grass slope that fed our church to the nearby fellowship hall. No, the prim and proper moms were not allowed today and the casual moms were a dime a dozen, not a phone in sight.
Several of us were barefooted and the rest were in running shoes, lots of black nylon leggings or tennis skirts. We lounged in the green grass, laughing and talking as we played an outdoor version of musical chairs which involved tagging and chasing and yelling and screaming. The afternoon went from sweaty hot to cool as we unhurriedly ate our ice cream sandwiches, sprawled on the wide brick patio. A few children were perched on a random gravestone here and there. Hula hoops and frisbees alike dotted the picturesque landscape and children swung imaginary swords beneath the old magnolia tree.
There were no sidelines today and it was lovely. My son tagged me over and over again and each time I took his hand purposefully and rose from the grass. As I sprinted across the large circle of my peers, I tried to appear unafraid and confident in my mothering. I had not a care in the world except to make the afternoon count and I was thankful for the hand that reached out to me again and again. I mentally embraced the ten year old boy, visibly thankful for his mother who chose not the sidelines, but the game itself. I hope he remembers me as that mom.