The Season of their Content

This summer morning begins with the sound of my younger son and his friend rising after a short night’s sleep. I know exactly where they are headed…

After three hours of video games, I advise them that they will be allowed back on the screen at sunset, so they must conjure strategies to pass the time — they go to the park, have lunch, build a kick-ass fort on the trampoline. By 3:30 I decide to let them back on the screen, but an hour later I kick them off again. So they return to the fort and this time it’s on another planet, and they give it a name – a mash-up of theirs.

I had planned to sit outside and enjoy the gorgeous summer afternoon reading and writing. But I move my computer into the kitchen, so I can be within hearing distance of their imaginations, without inhibiting them by being in view.

“MOM!” I hear after a while.

“Yes?”

“We need food on our planet!” I am not bothered by the tone of the demand because it’s for their planet. We do not have many planetary excursions left.

“What kind of menu suits your planet?” Turns out grilled cheese and apples are popular there, too. There’s just enough bread to convince them both they have a full serving.

I set two plates on the picnic table, and retreat inside. They burst out of the trampoline, running in the yard with lasers (fresh chalk) in hand, and wearing Scotch tape over their noses. It sounds like they are looking for the bad guy, whose name is “Giant Purple Butt” and whose weapon is farting. That explains the Scotch tape on their nostrils.

I can’t help but think of one of their favorite pop songs right now:

Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out
Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out

We used to play pretend, give each other different names
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face
Saying, “Wake up, you need to make money”

Having eaten, and vanquished Giant Purple Butt — for now — they lie on the trampoline, under sheets hung on fishing line and garden stakes, secured with butterfly clips, dreaming of outer space. In another 30 minutes, they’ll destroy what they’ve built. For now, this is the season of their content.

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