Afternoons Outdoors


I came home on Saturday and everyone was outside. Hugo was in his stroller, the fresh air extending his sleep. She was lying on a bali bed with her head in Ibu’s lap.

They had spent the day like this, with no toys or colouring books, or distractions: easy and slow. Hugo took both naps outside. Stella played a game of tag with the bapaks by the pool. Then back on the bed, lying still; then jumping on the pillows; then settling into Ibu’s lap, whispering secrets and telling jokes about poop. 

More and more days pass this way, with no agenda and a languid pace. We’ve let ballet lessons go, canceled the gym membership, and given up on trips to the faraway playground. More and more often, we close out our afternoon on the bali beds in the garden by the pool

I’ve always been uncomfortable with silliness. A tide of disquiet rises as I sit and watch my kids potter.  My body wants to be in motion, my mind wants to be engaged, my hands want to be working. 

We had a party to get to. But I didn’t want to hurry Stella upstairs to change. Instead I lay down with them on the bali bed too. I watched the light flicker and shimmer through a wall of green. I held Stella in my lap, whispered secrets and tickled her sides. 

I’m watching Stella and Ibu together. I’m learning about stillness, imagination, and togetherness. 

I’m thankful that Stella has this person in her life to teach her how to just be.