Once upon a time, wayyyy back in the day, my mother would yell out the most glorious words a kid my age ever heard, "now go outside and play."

 

It meant, you were no longer needed. That the chores were done, homework was completed and this freedom was what early evenings were made of. When long walks to the corner store turned into the BEST therapy sessions. When no one cared about your clothes or hair, we were all just glad to have a ball and enough people to play 4-square until the street lights came on. Where a fight involved a lot of "yo mama" jokes and the occasional fisticuffs but nothing beyond a push, then a shove and a very loud "we will never be friends again!" 

 

That time and place where you found perfect peace in lying in the grass of your mothers backyard (in between the clothes line, in front of the car that doesn't run and right beside the garden). That "now go outside and play" gave you enough time to check up on friends, check in on street life and dream beyond the seams of your hectic house walls. That "now go outside and play" was your innocence. It was your escape. It was my 1976 to 1995.

 

And on days like today, I wish that my mother would stroll through my front door and demand that I, "Go outside and play!", with a single stern finger in the air and the other hand nestled on her waistline. Cause after the week I've had, I'd follow her orders, run out the back, stretch my body across the ground....and lay. That's it, nothing else but.....lay. And why you ask, with reasonable doubt. "Because I've carried the weight of the world on my shoulders all day, so damnit I need the rest." And with my body still pressed down onto the earth below without batting these hazel eyes, I'd whisper, "And I need one more hour of peace and quiet, so go outside and play."