I, along with countless other parents make our way to the playground once or twice a day, pushing strollers, carting young ones and watching for cars as the older, more independent ones cross the streets on their bikes or scooters. It is a typical scene in my neighborhood, and across America I’m sure.
When I got married, it never occurred to me that I would soon spend countless hours walking to the playground, getting on swings and playing in mulch. I have a feeling that neither did all of the other parents that I come in contact with daily.
I wonder what a survey would show. Do we all enjoy taking the kids to the playground?
As for me, I do some days. There are times however, particularly on hot days, when I’ve offered to make the afternoon much more fun than the sweltering playground if we would just stay home where the air conditioning works and the temperature never goes above 76. It seldom works…
So we ready up and head out the door. I put on my sneakers, fill up water bottles, get my squirmy toddler in his stroller, see that my 6 year-old doesn’t forget his knee and elbow pads (he’s very good at remembering his helmet) and walk to the playground.
Regardless of my mood and disposition, by the time we reach the playground, the unthinkable always happens…
I watch their eyes light up and their smiles widen…and I too let out some good cheers.
After more than five years of trekking to the playground, I finally realized what all the fuss is about. It finally hit me! The playground is the equivalent of a football game or golfing session for dad and a pedicure or massage for mom. I am neither trying to be funny or exaggerating. If you can think of a luxurious treat, the playground is similar to that experience to them.
The feel of mulch on their pants, creeping inside their socks is similar to that wonderful lavender and French vanilla scrub or rosemary mint that leaves our legs feeling invigorating.
Think relaxation. Think enjoyment. Think “I do not want this to end anytime soon”. Think “I cannot wait to come back”. Think playground!
I will keep this perspective in the days and weeks to come. Just thinking about it in these terms makes the trip more pleasant for me too. Hopefully thoughts of their escape to adventure island will lend me the excitement I need to take them on days I would really rather be home sipping a cold strawberry lemonade. If not, nothing will change.
On to the playground they will go, high up in the sky I will push their swings, and at the bottom of the slides I will wait for them. Not because it is always fun for me but because I am their Mommy.