I picked Sam up from preschool today and paused quietly in the doorway, as I sometimes like to do, unnoticed, to watch outside-in, a view I rarely get of my children. Sam's class was just beginning a game of musical chairs in the courtyard. A dozen tiny uniformed munchkins springing gaily around a circle of tiny yellow chairs with hearts cut neatly out of their backs. Sam danced and skipped and hopped with more joy than could possibly be contained in just one small boy. As chairs were slowing pulled away while the music played, first one by one, then two by two, more children lost their chairs, as the game goes...some cried, some pouted, sulking slowly toward the teacher, sliding down the wall to meet the other kids on the ground.
Sam danced and danced, never concerned about the moment the music would stop, nor how far he'd be away from a chair. When just four chairs were left, he was meters away from any chair, whirling in circles lost in the music. When he noticed all the chairs had been taken and he was out, he skipped, still laughing, toward the wall for just a moment where paused to see his classmates sulking, then resumed dancing with the remaining kids as their music played.
...and I'll admit, I was nostalgic for a minute as I watched those tiny kids play Musical Chairs and while my heart swelled with the joy Sam radiated, I was the slightest bit sad that as adults we outgrow games like these. Then I learned something from preschool today: We never really outgrow Musical Chairs, in fact it is a game in life that is nearly impossible to outrun, we can really only learn how to continue to dance once we've lost our seat.