The basket of laundry sits in front of me as I fold a load of freshly washed and dried clothes. The windows are open and I can hear the sounds of laughter and playing floating in from outside. As I continue my task, I see three towheads run past as they chase each other around the yard. The sun is shining brightly down on them as the breeze ruffles their hair and rustles the leaves in the nearby trees. A smile plays across my lips as they flash past my view once again.
I stop mid fold and think to myself, “Why am I sitting inside on such a beautiful day by myself?” In a split second I make a decision. I put down the article of clothing in my hands and rise from my seat. These clothes can wait a while longer, but my children are only young once. I walk over to my stash of “surprises” that I keep handy. Rummaging through the collection of odds and ends I find the item I have in mind for today. With my treasure in hand, I head out the door to surprise my children.
I step out of the garage, have a seat on the rough concrete of the driveway, and begin to open the gift I have brought with me. My children pass by on another lap around the house. As they see me sitting there, their speed slows. Suddenly they all notice the box I am opening- a brand new box of sidewalk chalk. In a brief moment I am surrounded by excited chatter as they all start to make requests:
“Mommy, can you draw me?”
“I want a pink pig and a yellow lion.”
“Please draw me a giraffe.”
“Can I have a blue fish and a monkey?”
“Can I draw flowers?”
“Let’s draw all of us holding hands.”
I reply with a chuckle, “We can do all those things. I’ll trace all three of you first then someone can trace me. After that we can make a zoo on our driveway. We can add any and all of the animals you want.” My words are met with ecstatic responses of “YEAH!!!” Everyone reaches for chalk and the fun begins.
The next hour is spent laughing and drawing as we complete our zoo with a vast menagerie of brightly colored animals, both wild and domestic, in addition to the outlines of three children and a mommy to look over the zoo. A feeling of contentment and joy flows through me as I watch my children, now covered in chalk dust, looking over our joint project and adding things as they see fit. They are laughing, running, skipping-simply enjoying life on a beautiful spring afternoon.
There is nothing quite like a new box of sidewalk chalk to bring everyone together on a sunny afternoon to play and relax. I am grateful for these little slices of heaven because I know that all too soon they will decide that they are too old for this kind of silliness, but I intend to enjoy these precious moments as long as I can.
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