It’s a brisk spring afternoon and my son, Charlie, and I are walking to a park with an old friend and her daughter. My son, who just turned 3, grips my hand, focused on getting to the playground as fast as his stubby legs will carry him.

But 5-year-old Gabriela has other ideas. She scrambles up a hill to pluck a fistful of violets and dandelions. She tugs a branch, unleashing a shower of cherry blossoms. Next she’s a cat, stalking down the sidewalk on all fours, batting her paws and hissing. “She’s been a cat most of the week,” my friend explains.

Charlie has had enough. “Stop it, Gabriela,” he says. “Stop being a cat! Stop running around! We’re supposed to be going to the playground!”

I can’t help but think he has a point. The walk, which normally takes 10 minutes, is stretching into a half hour. I’ve got work to do: papers to grade, stories to research, laundry to fold.

But then I stop and think: What better way than this to spend a spring day? Have I forgotten how to enjoy the journey? Have I forgotten how to have fun?

(Click here to keep reading on the Johns Hopkins magazine site.)