Family: Leave adult stress behind with playtime

Treena Mielke

Did you bring your ball glove, grandma?

The little guy, wearing crumpled pyjama bottoms and an Oiler’s jersey, looks at me hopefully, his sky-blue eyes wide and questioning.

I was taken a bit off guard by his question.

There were so many things going on in my life right now and he wanted to know if I brought my ball glove.

Honestly. I had no time to play. I had to worry!

The biggest worry for me was my husband’s wheelchair lift which had suddenly and unexplainably quit working. That lift is like a little miracle in my world. It lifts the wheelchair up and it lifts it down. And being it is a power chair it is not exactly a lightweight thing.

And even after consistently working out and lifting weights every single day (OK, at least three times a week) and trying to turn myself into weightlifting diva, I find that wheelchair heavy. Too heavy for little old me.

And then there was all the other stuff going on in my adult world.

There was the wildfire raging north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan that had caused many people to flee from their homes. Normally such a fire occurring so far away would not have been a cause for concern for me.

But because one of my dear and special friends was one of the evacuees, it was a concern.

A huge concern.

He had sent me a brief text earlier.

“Fire. Evacuating,” was all it said.

And so, while the fire spread dangerously close to his home and ground crews and fire bombers worked frantically to keep the vicious flames at bay, he and his family waited.

And we, in Alberta, waited too.

And if that was not enough going on in my adult world, my son, his somber voice on the telephone portraying his deep concern, told me that the teenage daughter of close friends had been airlifted to the University Hospital in Edmonton after being involved in a serious motor vehicle collision.

Yes. Life was serious. So much worry. Anxiety.

“Did you, grandma?” he persisted.

My eyes locked with the clear blue eyes of this young grandson of mine, this child who has a way of filling my heart with joy just by being him and I smiled.

“No,” I said. “But I don’t need it. Let’s go play.”

And so, while the fire spread fear and dread north of Prince Albert, a young girl underwent surgery in Edmonton and my wheelchair lift stayed broken, we played. I pitched. He hit and he ran. And I chased him. And we did it again and again until the rain drove us, laughing, back into the house where it was dry and warm.

The fire has subsided now, my friend is back in his home, the young girl has recovered sufficiently enough from her injuries to go home and my wheelchair lift is to be fixed today.

And through it all I am so grateful for one small boy who, for one quick moment in time, took me out of my head full of worry and stress with the simple words, “did you bring your ball glove, grandma?”

It was a blessing, an unexpected blessing.

Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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