31 Days of the Little Way: The Gift of Pokemon Hunting Time

Our evenings are busy on an ordinary weekday. So when I accepted an invitation to attend our parish’s book club for moms last night, I knew I would be pushing things time-wise.
But I loved the idea of talking with other women about St. Therese, and I figured we could pull it off.
After work, I left the office, drove to school, picked up our sons, and headed home.
Lately I have been letting the boys play Pokemon Go in the back seat as I drive. They have such a good time, and they have been working out their own rules for how to take turns. Besides, you never know when we might catch a Dratini or a Snorlax or some other Pokemon I can only hope to spell correctly.

Photos by my backseat Pokemon hunters
So we were driving home, and I was asking about how the day had gone at school and listening to the one-word answers. I was also thinking of how little time we had to get everything done before I headed to the book club. Suddenly one of the boys saw on the phone that not far away was a Pokemon we had never caught before.
“It’s a Chansey, Mama! A Chansey!”
We had homework to do and dinner to make and lunchboxes to empty and a dishwasher to unload and tests to study for and…we certainly didn’t have time to drop everything to hunt for a Pokemon—even a Chansey.
But…well…I’m trying to find the holiness in the ordinary little things. I’m trying to see beauty and joy and God’s hand in the small moments I might be overlooking. Maybe that means that sometimes we set our schedule aside, brush off the timeline we’ve created for ourselves, and embrace a few minutes of frivolous fun.
So I took a breath, pushed aside the busy-ness of the rest of the evening, put on our blinker, and turned into a parking lot. We circled slowly and carefully, driving around, as the boys called from the backseat: “We’re getting closer!” “Let’s go that way!” “No, now we’re farther away!”
I wish I could tell you we caught Chansey. But, although we drove around for 10 or 15 minutes, we never found that slippery little Pokemon.
Sometimes there’s holiness in the disappointment, though, especially when we are disappointed together. How could Chansey not be there? What kind of Pokemon is so hard to catch? Won’t it be great when we do catch her? Imagine how exciting that will be!
Later as we were struggling through the homework and our leftovers were reheating on the stove, I reminded myself that at least in our hectic evening we had carved out a little time just to be together, yelling and laughing on our quest for a Pokemon.
In a world of over-scheduling and busy lives, there’s something particularly beautiful about the gift of wasting time—together. And I even made it to the book club on time.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.