I’m not sure what used to constitute a moment of zen even just a few years ago, but nowadays, it’s sitting on a park bench.
Lately, Abbi and I have been beating Chris, Jen, Ethan and Edward to the playground. Imagine the scene: happy little yuppy dads in camouflage cargo shorts and backwards Kangol caps. Moms who look more Paris Hilton than June Cleaver. Kids darting every which way… and us.
As Abbi says, “We’re the creepy, single couple in the corner.”
But then we spot Chris and Ethan sauntering down the hill. Chris is wearing that same orange North Face fleece he’s been wearing for years. Ethan’s pushing a toy baby stroller. They walk up worldlessly. They sit down next to us. And the four of us sit there quietly watching the playground abuzz with kids bouncing around like atoms.
I pat Ethan on the head, muss up his hair, and tickle his ears, He doesn’t react. He just sits there, stone faced, observing the playground like a scientist.
And then he stands up and pushes Baby to the swings. Abbi finds him some chalk. They recite the ABCs, and scribble them on the blacktop. He hangs from the rings, then jumps from the jungle gym. And he’s smiling and laughing and squinting into the sun.
Jen strolls in with Edward. She puts him on the ground. He pushes himself up, his little legs struggling to move him forward. Abbi and I are entranced.
“He hasn’t figured out his knees yet!”
He pulls himself up to the baby gym, smiling with his four little teeth. I make silly noises. I sing for him, and tickle him and he giggles.
And I look up through the new, green leaves, past the red, white and blue flag, through to the cloudless blue sky and I think, ‘I’m not sure what used to constitute a moment of zen even just a few years ago, but nowadays, it’s sitting on a park bench.’