Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Park...

We had the most delightful, unexpected experience at the park this week. In a late afternoon, when the day felt like such a waste of potential and Aimée was antsy, we pack up her sippy cup and my book and walked the mile to our closest park. It was empty, and I was relieved. Because when I have a book and a child ready to entertain herself, the last thing I want to find is a super chatty woman next to me on the park bench. I want silence. Happy as an ant in a picnic basket I settled on the closest bench.

So you will get my annoyance when a most definitely chatty woman arrived after us, two children and buckets of sand toys in tow. Arg. And she proceeded to talk, and I gave short, polite answers, making it clear I was fascinated with my book. But as I glanced up regularly to make sure Aimée wasn't getting into trouble, I found my desire for solitude changing. Because this woman's youngest child had carefully pawed through their toys and gently offered one to Aimée. And then they all began playing together. A six year old little boy and an eleven year old girl practically took my child under their wing, talking to her, helping her down the slide, encouraging her to try new things, smiling and patiently waiting as she took her sweet time. And while I might strive for patience and a nurturing atmosphere with Aimée, somehow the fact that other children were offering these things changed them, making them better.

Most kids would have hardly noticed the quiet, sober-faced little two year old plopped in the sandbox. They really saw her. And I felt my heart melting. Who needs to read when you can watch your daughter blossom under such unexpected warmth? So I joined them, arms wrapped around my knees, balanced on the edge of the giant sandbox, opening up to the children's friendly mother. How awesome to find her not just annoyingly garrulous, but also a good listener! And with a rich tapestry of experiences, plenty of opinions to share, and an openness to my own strong opinions that I rarely find.

By the time we headed for home to make dinner I was laughing and lighthearted. The only question on my mind: when can we go to the park again?