Last Shabbos afternoon, the sun was out and I woke my husband from his Shabbos nap, and told him it was his turn to entertain the kids.
From my bed, I hear them running in the garden, squealing in delight.
A few minutes later, I hear them again, this time from the back of the house, still squealing and giggling.
That’s weird, I think to myself, there’s nothing back there except the washing line.
A few minutes pass and once again I hear them in the front garden.
I’m half asleep, but somehow they are at the back of the house again.
What on earth could they be doing back there, I wonder.
Whatever game my husband has concocted that involves running around to the back of the house, my kids sound wildly entertained, so I fall into a deep sleep.
All too soon, my husband wakes me up with the news that he is off to shul for mincha, so I am back on parenting duty.
I join my kids on the front patio as we wave goodbye to my husband.
“What did you guys play?” I ask them.
Words bubble out of their mouths.
“Tatty threw the ball over the roof!”
“We ran to get it!”
“One of them got stuck on the roof!”
“The bally! On the roof!”
All of them are talking at once, and I’m still half asleep, so it takes a minute for me to piece together what they are all saying.
“Tatty threw the ball over the roof? And it went all the way over to the back of the house?”
“Yes,” my daughter giggles. At eight years old, she often holds herself way too mature for the childish games the rest of my kids play, but even she has gotten swept away by the afternoon’s shenanigans.
“One even got stuck on the roof!” My son’s eyes are wide as saucers as he rubs his hands together with glee. I look to where he is pointing and, sure enough, I see a yellow smiley face ball smiling down at me from the roof.
“One even went over the wall to the street.”
I look over at the 15-foot wall, topped with wires of electric fencing that surrounds our Joburg home. “What happened?”
Apparently, this was the best part of the whole afternoon, because they are all shouting at once.
“We don’t know. Someone just threw it back into our garden.”
“Who was it?” I inquire.
“We don’t know! It just came back by itself!”
I herd my still chattering children into the kitchen, washing hands and serving dinner, listening to them talk about their ball game with their father, which basically just involved them watching him throw balls to the back of the house and racing around to go and catch them.
It’s not the kind of game that sounds like it would be much fun.
Later on in the week, my son has a friend over, and I hear him showing him the ball on the roof.
“My tatty threw it on to the roof. For real!”
I can imagine his little face, nodding furiously as he explains to his friend about his magical Shabbos afternoon game.
My husband was just looking for ways to entertain my kids on a long Shabbos afternoon.
I wonder if he knows he created magic for them.