Thursday, May 17, 2012

Snowball Fight

We call it Snowball Bush. It is also known as Whitsun-Boss, Elder-Rose, Pincushion Tree, or for the scientific agrarian, Viburnum Opulus.

Two bushes grow next door in our neighbor's backyard. And last week the snowballs were tipping boughs heavy, tempting tiny hands.

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The boys and I ventured over the wall to swing. Spencer and Gordon flew like Superman, tummy-down on the swings, content to twist chains and tap-twirl their feet against the ground.

So I plunked down on a brick wall and opened a book. I had finished one paragraph when Gordon lobbed a snowball right into my face. It hit me between the eyes and I was so surprised, I dropped my book. What startled me most, however, was the non-impact of those soft, fluttery blossoms. Hmmmm, I thought. This could be fun.

I looked Gordon square in the eyes, saw a tease sparkle in his browns, a jest curve upward on his lips. Then I grabbed a snowball, and lobbed it right back.

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Within seconds the boys and I were in an all out war, reusing the ammo against each other, white tufts flying. I couldn't stop laughing.

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Whooo-eee, did we make a mess.

When our neighbor, Marilyn, came home from work I confessed our charade. Told her about our little snowball fight. How we had plucked a fair number of her blossoms.

True to her practical, personal way, she didn't mind a bit. In fact, she said we ought to pick more and have a snowball fight with the entire family.

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So we did.

Ali helped me clip. And together we stuffed, and stuffed, and stuffed the basket full.

We chose our starting positions.

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I doled out the snowballs.

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Have you ever seen anything so perfectly round and light and lovely?

The kids were patient as I divvied up the basket, stacked their stations with ammunition. The anticipation building.

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Finally.... we let 'em fly!

Doug dropped several down the back of my shirt.

"You wanna play like that?" I said.

And I went after him. The girls joined me. We chased, and snagged his shirt, ran and laughed so hard we had to stop to catch our breath. Eventually, I managed to stuff a handful of snowballs down the back of Doug's pants. Part of an all-out attack that disturbed Spencer so much he started hitting me and telling me to stop getting his Daddy.

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When all the balls were spent, the kids gathered up the leftovers and placed them in Doug's hands.

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On the count of three, he tossed them as high as he could.

And it snowed.

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And snowed.

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And snowed.

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The sun broke through the trees as the last flakes floated down. And we left them there. All those shredded petals, like the stuffing of some poor teddy bear.

Once the kids were down I stood at the kitchen window, washing dishes, surveying the white wreckage that littered the grass.

Fifteen minutes of play. That's all we had. Fifteen minutes of pure play that worked a bit of wonder on my soul. It unified our family, gave us a memory, and left me happily floating into the night.

The kids are still talking about it, wondering if we'll do it again next year.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw

Some days I realize I haven't just grown up, I've grown old.

Play is an art form. It doesn't come as easily these days, but I ought to do it more. Shed some stuffy old years and remember...what it feels like to lob the first snowball.

11 comments:

  1. I LOVE that! You guys have so much fun! I love the picture of all the snowballs in the green basket. They look so fluffy! :)

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  2. Love this. Mary and I went right outside and threw snowballs at Erik (who was dutifully fixing the sprinklers).

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  3. Such fun! They will remember that the rest of their lives. Thanks for the reminder to not grow old!

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  4. This was absolutely beautiful. I admit that being a playful mom is not my forte. So I can totally relate to this, "Play is an art form. It doesn't come as easily these days, but I ought to do it more." Being responsible? I'm solid. Being fun? Some days I struggle in that dept. because I'm too busy being so darned responsible! Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. Wow - I have never seen such a cool flower as this snowball flower. That is so beautiful! Arizona just doesn't have that sort of thing. Very cute post and pictures!

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  6. Oh this looks like fun! I need to play more. I truly do. xo

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  7. Oooh, now I want one of those trees!

    Gorgeous stuff, Cath. Such beauty in little things and moments.

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  8. Deb - you'll have to join us next year. They were the fluffiest, funnest things to throw! xo

    Michelle - Love that you took Erik by surprise. Cute Mary. Sure love you.

    Steph - I hope so.

    Melanie - "Being responsible? I'm solid. Being fun?" I completely get it. I'm realizing it takes practice at this age to be fun. But I can get better. And it's such a happier way to live. Thanks for your comment my friend.

    Candice - I love getting your occasional comment. We've been in southern utah recently and I've thought of you. How ever do you manage the heat?? Miss you.

    Tracy - Me too sister. xo

    Kel - Lots of beauty to be captured. Loved your post at Segullah today. Prayers for you.

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  9. hmmm this really gets me thinking about other types of 'snowball's!
    Thanks

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  10. What a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing that moment from your family's life. So much love and joy!

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  11. Miss Carol - me too.

    Anne Marie - I hope your move is going smoothly. I'm so glad you had a few minutes to sit back and watch the big transition, take a breath, do something for yourself. It takes months to finally get everything in place. Wishing you patience and happiness during the process. I'm delighted you've been blessed with this change in your life. Looking forward to hearing more when things settle. xoxo

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