Dear President Biden,
This is a short little tale about a chance encounter with a boy with green hair, the difference between “good luck” and “have fun” and how much I still have to learn before I can reliably be a true advocate for the beloved community.
Saturday morning Laura and I were circling back with the dogs to where we’d parked our car when a little boy, who we think is about 8, rode up to us on his bike and said “hi, I’m going to play baseball at 11 this morning” and then rode on up the street. He was sporting a shock of green hair mixed in with brown straight hair (I think he’s White but I’m not certain).
When he circled back to chat some more he stopped his bike and patiently answered my cloddish adult questions – Is he on a team? (Yes) What’s the team’s name? (Panthers but he wanted Pythons) – before he pulled a ginormous hula-hoop off a broken tree branch and told us that he sometimes races the hoop down the hill but the hoop always wins. When “asked” in that risk-averse-way mothers have whether he uses the sidewalk, he dutifully said he does but he doesn’t like to because it has so many cracks and bumps that it’s scary. The street he lives on is quite wide and I’m 99% certain he doesn’t actually use the sidewalk when he races the hula-hoop – the sidewalk really is a mess and why wouldn’t you just use the wide street?? But he’s an affable, agreeable kid who has clearly learned to tell adults what they want to hear so the sidewalk it was.
And then just as quick as he appeared, the hula-hoop was abandoned and he was heading off. I was surprised at his leave-taking and was still trying to get “good luck at your game” out of my mouth when Laura called “have fun!” after him.
Maybe it wouldn’t have stuck with me without the uber-friendly boy with green hair to frame it, but Laura’s “have fun!” has been rolling around in my little brain ever since. My instinct was to wish him luck so that he and his team could win, prevail, beat, triumph over, vanquish whatever team they were playing at 11am that morning. Laura’s instinct (as in, no hesitation whatsoever) was to send him off with wishes to have fun – just to have fun.
Most every morning I engage in a little ritual where I say good morning to the universe and to whatever teachers I might encounter in the day in an effort to remind myself that I still have scads to learn and to stay open (as best I can) to that learning. And, most every day I learn something from our daughter or my brother or the stranger who pauses to let someone go ahead of them, but mostly I learn from Laura. I learn facts and things from her for sure, but mostly I learn how to be and over and over again I get to relearn how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful teacher.
May we be safe to have fun (even on lumpy, bumpy sidewalks).
May we be willing to reorient around fun and let the US-competition-monster fade out.
May we get it through our pea brains that winning doesn’t connote strength or virtue.
May we accept that having fun is a worthy goal in and of its wonderful self.