Friday was a fairly unremarkable day in summertime quarantine. Work, eat, play, rinse, repeat.

I will say, after getting back to the routine after a couple weeks of traveling and such, my energy level has been lacking a little. To clarify, what I should really say here is that my energy is lacking more than usual. 

Mornings have been particularly tough. I’ve never been a bundle of excitement in the morning, but lately it has been a real struggle to pick up momentum. The same can not be said for Henry, who gets out of bed with a full charge and is instantly moving at full speed.

Friday morning, though, he was a little more chill than usual and the kids were each off playing their own things while I was getting coffee made, putting away some dishes and getting ready to start the day. Just as I was about to open my email, I heard Henry say, “Daddy, will you play with me?”

It hit me in that moment that I play a lot with both kids, and Amelia will often ask me individually to play with her, but Henry doesn’t ask that question all that often. So I took that moment put my computer down and go and sit down with him.

Henry is a very tactile little guy, so a few years we made this tub for him that is filled with dried beans and has lots of little toys like matchbox cars and dinosaurs buried in it. It lets him sort through and play with his toys while getting that tactile feedback.

We sorted through the beans, played out little scenes with the dinosaurs, and built little mountains of beans in the corners of the box. He was laughing and doing funny voices for his dinosaurs and overall having a great time. 

We played for maybe 15 minutes, but this was one of those moments that reminded me how important play, even little bits of it, are for our connection with our kids. It’s so easy to get sucked into daily survival, work, home maintenance and fights over food and TV and bedtime, but I try to remember to grab those little moments when I can. I know the days that Henry asks me to play with him are limited. And the days where a bin of beans will entertain him are even more limited.

NOTE TO READER: The previous paragraph should be read with the song The Cat’s In the Cradle playing in the background. Gives it the proper bittersweet texture and schmaltz. 

So I was thankful for that little moment. From there, it was a pretty normal Friday that we capped off with pizza and a movie. Another week on the books.