The other night, I read The Giving Tree to Violet while cuddled up with her under the covers. Despite reading the well-known Shel Silverstein story to little ears numerous times over the past half-decade, one little snippet caused me to stop my rhythm.
“Read Mommy. Read!” our little spirited blue-eyed child pleaded.
I began again by rereading the line that gave me pause.
“I am too busy to climb trees,” said the boy.
Is that life as an adult? Being too busy to climb trees? Clay and I often joke that we’re not very good at adulting. Yes – we foster a safe and loving environment for our children, pay our bills on time, and file taxes in three (!) states. But we also seem to always be running out of toothpaste, shudder at the idea of a mcmansion, and have no qualms about eating ice cream for dinner. Our approach to life is more ‘let’s see where this wild ride takes us‘ than ‘let’s meticulously plan a detailed future‘ and we never fail to leave the house without turning off the coffee pot.
It’s not that I don’t want to be an adult – being an adult rocks 97% of the time. I’m not Peter Pan, who famously and magically refused to grow up. But rather, I desire to balance the heaviness and seriousness of adulthood with the irreverent and playful attitude associated with childhood. I don’t want to be too busy or too adult to climb trees. I look at my young children who are blissfully unaware of the mass-shootings that dominate the news cycles, the lack of bipartisanship that plagues our government and stalls societal progress, and the terror and destruction in the Middle East. Their ignorance won’t last for long. As their hearts and minds become heavier with such knowledge, I can only hope that their desire to climb trees doesn’t dim.
And since the weather is absolutely gorgeously perfect in Kansas today, I can’t think of a reason not to climb trees with the little ones this afternoon. For no reason other than because climbing trees is a hell of a lot of fun.