I was outside last night in the backyard watching my kids play on the trampoline. They kept asking me what other trampoline game they could play as if I were some kind of all knowing trampoline guru. At one point I tossed in a kick ball over the netting to them and told them to jump and kick it or simply sit within the enclosure and roll the ball back and forth to each other. It really doesn't take much to entertain a child.
They giggled as they rolled the ball back and forth to each other - I thought of my dad who never met either one of them. He'd be all about being outside last night, being in that moment with my kids. Dad always played the best he could with his kids. Even though the polio crippled him, he always enjoyed doing as much as he could. Westbrook liked to play ball. I remember Sundays when he'd sit on a stool in the backyard and be the resident batter, letting the youngest kids run the bases for him. He'd be the picture and make sure everyone got a turn. He couldn't use his legs but he participated in his own way by organizing or coaching us in our backyard playoffs.
I remember countless times as a kid just tossing a ball back and forth with my dad. It didn't matter what kind of ball it was. He loved to play with his children. I don't ever remember getting scolded for tossing a wiffle ball or a tennis ball in the house. Dad would be there to ask us to bounce it his way - the game would continue. If there was a ball in the room - he'd never pass on the opportunity.
One thing I remember doing with dad as a kid inside was to toss cards. I'd take an old hat of his out of the closet and put it on the floor. Dad and I would take turns tossing playing cards toward the hat. We'd tally up the scores of the cards that made it into the hat and see which athlete won.
I know that dad never lost his love for playing games. I'm sure that he's on a team now that he's healed of this Earth. I know that he'll get us out there in the field as well - toss with our old man. I believe a lot of things we found simple pleasure here on Earth are things we'll also find in heaven. I look forward to that. I look forward to tossing that ball - actually see him run those bases with his own two legs. Wouldn't that be great?
I've got a hat and a deck of cards. I think I'm going to go upstairs now and teach my kids a new game.
The Late Christmas Present
5 weeks ago