It was a rough weekend for me. A number of things, including a not-so-great trip to see Annie on Saturday, had me feeling that the weekend’s original purpose of rejuvenation had seriously gotten off track. Nothing brought me closer to peace or calm; I was holding tight to a lot of stress and frustration. Not even going to church, seeing dear friends, and a run in the beautiful autumn weather pushed me out of my funk.
What did make a difference, though, was a game of Bop.
Bop is a game my son, R, created. All you need to play is a big balloon, very much like the one my kids’ dentist gives out at the conclusion of every visit, and eager players. The purpose is to keep the balloon in the air, using your hands, head, feet, and assorted body parts to bounce the balloon up, away from the floor.
R made up the game while he and I had a quiet evening at home yesterday. His sister had a birthday party to attend, to which my husband, thankfully, escorted her. He contended with 30 excited, screaming kindergartners at a bowling alley while R and I ate dinner together and caught up. R told me about his friends and the new book he’s reading; we laughed and listened to one another. In the quiet, I found space to let go of some of my stress and negativity. R also introduced me to Bop, and we played in between getting ready for bed and folding laundry.
“This is fun,” I said, jumping up to connect with the big red balloon, sending it to R. We were in our living room, running from side to side to keep the balloon afloat.
“Yes, Mama, it is. And it’s really good exercise. That’s why I invented it,” he replied, his eyes fixed on the balloon’s descent to the couch.
A light touch sent the balloon to me on the other side of the room. I sent it back, reaching out to catch it as it bounced off the window. We went back and forth like this for some time, avoiding lamps and breakables. We switched from R’s big red balloon to his sister’s even larger pink balloon. We slowly mastered the art of waiting for the balloon to make its way to us, rather than reaching too high or too far or smacking the balloon too hard. We worked on keeping the balloon near and in focus. A metaphor, perhaps, for what I need more of in life.
Our game of Bop became much louder once my husband and daughter arrived. We started teams (“Nautilus” versus “Loving Halloween”), tried to keep score, and giggled throughout, especially when the balloon bounced off of our faces. The four of us danced and dogged around the living room, and, for that game, it was only us, and that balloon, that mattered. We ended our play, laughing and together. And wanting more.