Watch Me Play

Luca stood on the left side of the court while I stood on the right. We’d been hitting tennis balls off a large cement wall together for an hour.

I mentioned I was tired, but would finish hitting the last few balls until they flew out of bounds. Luca wasn’t worn out and began to lobby for me to continuing playing.

This past weekend is one of the few throughout the year we spend on the Washington coast with my in-laws. We enjoyed our time at the beach, but because the weather was cooler than normal, we found a school where the kids could work off some energy on the playground.


Luca did her best to keep the ball in play which kept me on the court longer than I’d planned. When the last tennis ball headed towards the grass, I handed my racquet to Lincoln and started for the car.

“But I want you to watch me play”, Luca said before I could get too far.

She wants me to watch her play.

I stood away from the court for a moment and took in the scene. My other kids were going down the slide or climbing on the monkey bars. My youngest was probably chasing bees on the soccer field. My iPhone was in the car updating itself with email and blogs to read.

I paused to think about how often I show up, play with the kids before taking off as fast as I showed up. Mom sees them regularly in school while I appear for the two hour field trip before racing back to work. I sneak in the back just in time to catch the piano recital. I’m like Spiderman without the climbing or web making abilities. I show up, complete my assignment, and head off to more important endeavors.

Don’t blink or you might miss my appearance.

I took a seat close to the court instead of one back at the van. Whenever Luca hit a backhanded or returned a difficult shot, she turned to see if I’d witnessed it before flashing a smile.

It won’t be long before she’s whizzing serves past my outstretched arms. There’s no guarantee she’ll always want me around to watch her hit tennis balls. Or play the piano or perform in the talent show. I didn’t always want my parents around during my teen years. 

But this time I didn’t race off to more important endeavors.

They don’t exist.

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