Being aware because of the hoop

Last month or so we Mark, changed the basketball hoop we’ve had in our backyard, for a long time.

I remember when we bought that first basketball hoop when we bought our house (20 years ago) and decided it was an expense we wanted to spend, even when our pay checks were not that big, and after buying a house, it felt that the $20 was overspending.  But we did it, and looking back, I think it has been the most used $20 we’ve ever spent.

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The hoop was completely broken.  There was a hole on the side of the garage wall, from all the bouncing and use of the hoop all these years.  The hoop was crooked, falling off the wall, loose almost dangerous some might say.  The net couldn’t be held because the metal hooks were broken as well, and it could have probably been better not to have a net.

Lucas never said anything, and kept on playing, shooting hoops every single day, time and time again.  By himself and with friends.  One friend, two, three or eight.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s always fun and he’s always out there.  More in the recent years, but he’s been always playing.

Changing that hoop, made me think about the past and how much we’ve changed as person, as a couple and now lately, as a family.  Changing that basketball hoop after 20 years of playing and bouncing balls off the rim, made me realize how different my life is after 20 years…. of adulthood.  (Or when did I become an adult?  Is it really at 21? or 18?  Not sure I know when that was, but for me, my life changed drastically when I got married and moved to the States.)

I was 25, and we had just bought this house, our first house.  We had lived in rented apartments, but this house… this is ours and this is home.  And it was in that first month of home ownership that we bought that one basketball hoop.

Back then, it was just Mark and I playing basketball, with no dream of having a family just yet, actually scared of the thought of it.  We had other plans and other dreams.  We were doing what we loved to do, and whatever we wanted to do. We traveled and went out to dinner as often as we wanted.  We didn’t have to be back home at any given time, except when we were tired.  We were in that sense free of those responsibilities.

Today, I still can say I am doing what I want to do, and what I love to do.  It is just different but it is exactly what I want for right now and love.  I want different things and it makes me happy to know that I can do them.  It is my choice, and I feel so very lucky to be able to do that.  Yes, I am doing my dream job.  I do have to say, that like any job, there are  those hard days.  But for the most part, I think I’ve won the lottery.  I live with my best friend and these two amazing kids that I love so much.  I can’t think of a better way to spend my days.

I would have never guessed that having bought that basketball hoop was going to be something special for me and for my family.  Not that I am attached to it, but I am thankful for what it has given me, us.  I am thankful for all the times Mark and I played basketball out there (him making more baskets than me, but who cares.)  I am thankful for the times we had friends over and we’d end up throwing the ball.  When we’d have our neighbors for dinner, and end up shooting a ball or two.  Or someone would stop by to say hello and would be enticed by that basketball laying on the ground to try once or twice.  Or now, with kids, when they too feel the need to bounce the basketball and shoot at the hoop.  And their friends, and our friends.  And today, all those invitations specifically to play basketball in our back yard.

It is not a full court by any means, not even a half court.  The dogwood covers much of the area that can be used for shooting the ball, especially beginning spring.  The branches have been trimmed many times in these 20 years, and we’ve had to decide what is healthy for the tree and what we can live with.  Which shots are worth having clear and which ones will have to live with a branch crossing over.  It is a compromise.

I am thankful for what it has made me realize and think over, because it reminds me of the fleeting moments that sometimes I don’t take the time to savour.  It is just a thing, I know, but a thing that has made me feel lucky once again.  A reminder.  A reminder of how lucky I am in so many ways, in so many levels.

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Lucas is the one mostly using this basketball hoop these days, and you should see in his face the excitement of having this new metal orange round hoop.  One that works.  One that is not sideways, almost falling off the wall, threatening them to fall on your head. One with springs that make the ball bounce off its rim.  Really.  It is a pretty simple luxury, that is well worth the $30 (inflation).  And who knows.  Maybe we won’t have to change it until we are in our sixties. Wouldn’t that be a treat!  Twenty dollars for twenty years of basketball fun.  I’d pay a $1 a year any time!

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