April sat on the front steps with her chin on her hands. She watched the other kids on the street playing kickball. She usually loved kickball, but today she just didn’t feel like playing. She didn’t feel like doing much since her grandpa’s funeral.
She and her grandpa had been really close. The two of them went to the zoo together on Saturdays. Her favorite animal was the cheetah, but his favorite was the walrus. Sometimes he would pick her up after school for dinner to talk. She loved her talks with grandpa.
But now she didn’t get to go to the zoo with him again. And she wouldn’t ever get picked up from school for a surprise date with grandpa. It made her really sad to think about.
When she was at home, her mom got on her case a lot. She would ask April to play games, or read a book, or do something. But April just didn’t feel like it. She wasn’t sure if she ever would again.
One of the boys playing kickball ran up to her with the ball under his arm.
“April, can you come kick for us? Just once. We’re short a player,” he added, pleading.
“I’m too sad,” April said, looking at the ground. She could feel tears welling up.
“That’s OK,” the boy replied. “You can be sad and kick the ball at the same time.”
April thought about that. It might not be the same, playing and being sad, but she would try. She got up and went out to the base.
She kicked the ball as hard as she could, and it went flying down the street. It was a home run! She ran towards first base, then second. In fact, she ran so hard she forgot she was feeling sad.
By the time she got to home base, she was smiling. She gave her teammates high fives, cheering with them. It turned out that it was OK to be sad, but it was OK to have fun again, too.