My caregiving life doesn’t get me out as much as I would like. It’s just not possible for me to have much of a social life right now but I am taking baby steps to correct that issue. For example, a few weeks ago, I was able to arrange for a paid substitute caregiver and had a night on the town with my siblings and their spouses. After hearing my brother’s gypsy jazz band play at a local venue, we decided to go bowling.
I cannot even remember the last time I went bowling. I can guess that it’s been at least 20 years. There was a time when I could have bowled every night if I had the chance. I wasn’t that good, but good friends always made it fun. The siblings in my family have a great relationship for the most part and we love to laugh. This would definitely be a fun and different way to spend the evening together and we were all excited.
We had a marvelous night filled with laughter but I was struck by how much bowling has changed in 20 something years. We went to a “pub and bowl” which is some kind of a cross between a bowling alley and and bar. That was new to me. Clearly, this marketing concept is a success. The place was overflowing with people and this quiet caregiving girl was starting to have a phobia reaction to the large crowd. But something was different. Everyone was laughing and having a really good time. It was both exciting and thrilling.
Our party of six had to wait about an hour for a lane to open up. During that hour, we sat at a huge table eating pizza and having our first round of wine. Despite the crowd, we were able to talk, laugh, and catch up with each other. My sister’s phone rang to announce that our lane was ready. We dashed over to the counter to secure the shoes. This was another new experience. If you don’t know, you should Google what bowling shoes used to look like. These bowling shoes actually had the slightest glimmer of fashion or color to them.
We threw on our shoes and headed to find our lane. When we got there, we were greeted by another server who had miraculously transferred our food and drinks from the big table to our lane table. Wow. When did bowling get a bowling table? I was noticing that the scoring desk of long ago has now been replaced with a rectangular table with a black stripe down the middle. Two lanes now share a table and not a scoring desk. Wow. When did bowling get such a convenient table to put food and drinks? For that matter, I don’t remember food being allowed anywhere near the lanes. But what an improvement!
It took a minute for our group of 50-something year old adults to figure out how to enter our names on the automatic scoring computer screen. We stared at the screen with fascination realizing none of us would be adding the number of pins to tally the score.
The most amazing thing happened when I stepped onto that special bowling floor. Somehow, the 20 previous years just faded away. For that amazing moment, I was 20 years younger as I looked down the lane at the pins. I held the ball up to my chest and looked over it. Would my body remember how to bowl? I looked down at my ever so slightly fashionable bowling shoes. Would my feet remember the mechanics and the special little dance to release the ball? There was just the one hesitant moment as I paused to look back and see all the smiling faces behind me. I turned around to face the pins. I began the steps and pulled the ball back behind my body and then forward to the ball release point that my body remembered. My eyes were focused on the lines printed on the lane.
It was just like riding a bike. I’m still not that good, but my family made it fun. We had some really good quality time together and it became a night filled with happy memories and much laughter. This frazzled caregiver had a grand time being out in society and remembering how much fun it is to go bowling. It’s the little things…