In parallel

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We only had twenty minutes.

So we sat in the grass.

Just sat in the grass. Us, surrounded by little blades of green poking and tickling and swaying lightly in the breeze. No bubbles or chalk or trucks or blocks. Not even a blanket to prevent the inevitable grass stains. Just us. In the grass.

Because, you see, we only had twenty minutes.

And we noticed the trucks driving by and the birds as they flew. We watched the clouds rolling in, dark and stormy but not quite ominous. And we felt the breeze that was preparing to usher in that storm but that, for the moment, felt soft and sweeping.

He sat in my lap and began to pull at the grass. Grasping and tugging  at tiny blades until they came free from the earth. He piled the little clippings in my hand and, when we both felt we’d collected enough, I raised my hands to my lips and gently blew them away. They flurried from my finger tips, falling back to the ground in a rapid blizzard of green, becoming once again lost. He was delighted. He giggled with glee as he began again. Grasping and tugging and pulling and waiting eagerly for me to send them in a flurry back to the ground.

This is how we passed our twenty minutes in the grass. The world’s slowest lawn maintenance. The world’s simplest game. And, in that moment, the world’s most delighted little boy.

in the grass

We don’t spend many minutes this way, he and I. We spend so many minutes together. More than I spend with any other human, in fact. But we’re always bustling. To-doing. Errands and laundry and cooking and cleaning.

We spend so many of our minutes in parallel. Next to one another, yes. Together, sure. But we don’t often cross like this. We don’t often meet. Connect. Intersect. He’s eating and I’m cooking. He’s playing and I’m folding. He’s riding and pointing and I’m pushing and collecting. And we interact, of course, but we don’t often intersect. Not like this, his legs dangling over mine, his little hands bouncing on my fingers, my hair dusting the top of his head and tickling his ears, both of us completely at peace in the moment and content. No, we don’t often intersect like this.

And that, is sad.

I don’t want to move along and continue forever, never lonely, for there is always someone next to me, but alone. Never crossing or intertwining or connecting.

I get caught up in the doing and the things to be done. I miss the being. Being me. Being us. Being connected and intersected. I miss the grass and the uniquely grassy way it pokes and tickles. I miss the clouds in their beauty and the birds as they fly. I miss his giggles and his childlike way of attaching himself to an activity and obsessively repeating it until his curiosity has been satiated. There is such beauty in his repetition. Such simple loveliness in the way he fits so perfectly in my lap. Such comfort in the weight of his small body, which, yes I know I said it feels overwhelming, and yes, sometimes it does, but it can also feel just so comfortable. When I relax into it, open myself up to how fleeting the window is that will find him here, wanting to be so close to me that he’s drawn to sit on top of me, I find peace in it. I realize that this is where the connection starts. If we intersect now, intertwine now, we’ll both grow this way. I want to grow this way. With a few, select people in this world, I want to grow intertwined and wrapped around.

There is such peace in spending twenty connected minutes. In veering off my path, bending my straight line so that I intersect with another human. Forgetting the lists and the things to do so that I can just sit in the grass.

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