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“Let’s wait outside for Papa,” I urged the kids wanting to get them outside. We bunkered down on the front porch and waited. No Papa. As the gray clouds rolled in, my daughter gulped back my oversized sports bottle of water. It was hot. Her hair was knotted from a busy day of work and play, her face dirty from helping me in the garden. My son’s nap’s impression remained on his face, his clothes wrinkled, and his hair almost standing on end from the pressure of the pillow. We waited. And waited. The impending electrical storm had us antsy with anticipation. All three of us fidgeted with excitement. “Wanna go to the park?” I asked impishly, knowing full well cascades of rain could come at any moment. My kids leapt off our porch with delight. I ran inside knowing we were playing Russian Roulet with the rain, quickly grabbed my house keys and looked for my phone. No. I would leave it. I needed to. I needed a break.
You see, I ebb and flow through social media and phone addiction. It used to be this overwhelming urge not to miss out and to stay connected that had a hold on me. Now, I want to have it on hand to stay in contact with my husband throughout his work day and to capture stills of my kids’ play. But because I also work part-time from home, I need to use my phone more. In working from home, there are less conventional moments I must capitalize on to get things done. For instance, if the kids are playing nicely on the playground, I will try and get through emails or work to increase my social media interaction. The problem is that doing so much from my phone can make me feel frantic. It can feel like nothing is ever done, like I need to check it again and again to make sure I haven’t missed or am about to miss anything. While it is a necessary evil to do what I do and is part of this day and age, sometimes I just need to forget my phone and be present.
We got to the park, the air thick with impending thunder. My kids squealed with excitement as they ran free knowing that without notice, we could have to leave, running away from the park and the rain. As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones who decided to ignore the weather’s warnings. More families showed up. A father with an oversized bubble wand commanded an orchestra of children trying to catch bubbles. All of the kids took turns turning on the sprays at the splash pad, taunting the timed bursts to get them. I assumed my regular spot on the sidelines. While I didn’t have anything to work on, I didn’t want to interfere. You see, kids can play so beautifully. And I like to give mine the autonomy they deserve to negotiate their own rules and spend time with their peers. They have lots of “Mama Time” at home. As I stood back, totally present to each fleeting moment, I had the luxury of listening to each phrase of my kids’ play and hearing each drop of water from the sprays pelt the asphalt. I could taste the storm coming and feel the thick air on my skin. Amidst the high pitched laughter and children running, I felt so calm.
Then a drop came and another drop. As the skies opened up, we and our neighbours scattered like a ball and jacks. I grabbed my kids hands and we RAN! Getting soaked, our laughter overtook us and it became nearly impossible to keep our intended pace. Breathless and beaming, we made it to our covered stoop just as my husband rolled up. I silently vowed to make sure to do this more often. It is sad that in this day and age, we need to make it a priority to be present. The silver lining is that too much social media makes those unplugged times that much more fun. Though I may need the reminder from time to time, I certainly will make a point of forgetting my phone and teasing the rain now and again.