Life is About Participation

Mary - Belle Mead, New Jersey
Entered on February 18, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe that life is about participation. Not about actively playing sport, but instead about being engaged in life by investing my time in experiences.

Every summer I schedule a day off of work for “Mom and son day” to create a life experience with each of my boys. I just knew that if I didn’t book time on my work calendar, the summers would slip by. They would grow-up and I would be wondering if we ever got to really know each other.

On “Mom and son day” we both must participate and it must be an experience from which we learn something, no matter how small.

What have we done?

• Traveled to the top of the Empire State building, where NYC actually seems peaceful. It changes the perspective of the city.

• Learned about the struggle to become our own country on the “liberty walk” in Philadelphia.

• Walked through a giant heart.

• Reflected about friendship after seeing “Charlotte’s Web” at a castle theater on a lake.

• Learned about immigrants through a tenement museum. Wondered how hard it must have been for our great grandparents when they came to America.

• Meandered through a sculpture garden and took in art that took our breath away.

• Explored the battle sites and the horrors of war at Gettysburg.

• Learned that life’s not always fair at an exhibit of the Titanic. My passport, which was that of a woman in first-class meant she survived, while my son’s passport of an immigrant man traveling third-class, meant he perished.

• Humbly walked the field of the original Yankee stadium and the greatest ball players ever, Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Munson, and Jeter.

What have we learned about each other?

• My oldest has a penchant for history. He has a sense of humor and we spend a great deal of the time laughing. He’s opened up to me about times when he’s felt like a star and times when he’s struggled.

• My middle son loves art, science and jazz music. We speak about astronomy and facts. He has a subtle sense of humor that I only get when I take the time to listen. So I’ve learned to listen better.

• My youngest son appreciates our days together only when they’re over. Before we leave he insists he doesn’t want to go. I take him anyway, because I know he is just trying to be tough like his big brothers. He also loves to sing in the car. So, we sing together.

What have my sons learned about me?

I hope they’d say they understand that even though I’m not an athlete, I do participate in life; that I love history, art, a good laugh, but most of all that I love my boys with my whole heart; I love spending time with them.

Maybe they, too, will also grow to believe that “Life is about participation!”