It was a beautiful day, and my little angel on Earth wanted to go the playground after dinner. We decided to ride his bike to the ‘big’ playground, even though I wasn’t sure his legs, or the training wheels, could make the trip.
He did great on his bike. A few spills, but nothing he couldn’t brush off, and he was thrilled with how many ‘friends’ were at the playground when we arrived.
He ran into the park and walked right up to another boy and asked, “Do you want to play with me?”
We live in a diverse suburb and there are all types of people on our playground. There are the helicopter moms, similar to me, always standing right under whatever apparatus the child is trying to navigate.
There are the shade parents, who find the benches in the shade and let their kids run and play while they check Facebook.
And there are the neighborhood kids. A group of adolescents whose parents are never there, but are all friends and have probably known eachother since birth.
So, being the helicopter mom that I am, I was a little nervous when my 4-year-old entered, walked up to an (at least) 8-year-old, who was running through the playground yelling and carrying on with the rest of his neighborhood friends.
My fears immediately subsided when that adorable genleman stopped in his tracks, looked down at my son, grabbed his hand and called a ‘timeout.’
All the neighborhood kids gathered together, he introduced my little guy, said ‘he’s playing with us now,’ and every single kid said hello. They each took turns teaching him the game of tag, pointed to who was ‘it’ and agreed to give him a head start since he was the littlest.
After the raucous game of tag was over and he lost interest, he found the playground sign-language and proceeded to practice every letter in the alphabet. A tiny guy came up next to him, no more than 3, and they practiced the letters together.
It was such a proud moment for me as a mom, and for my community. We, as adults, are so often concerned with social dynamics, and are so quick to judge others for appearance, beliefs, or affiliations. Not these kids, and not my sweet angel. They just want to play.
Who knew there was so much to learn from spending a little time on the playground?