Monday, March 22, 2010

I Have Seen My Future at the Park (and I Like It!)

Over the past week and a half of wonderful, gorgeous DC spring weather, we've been at the park approximately 100 times. Seriously. Lucky for us, the neighborhood park where everyone congregates is about five houses up the street. Quite often we are there and back multiple times during the day.

One day last week I caught a glimpse of my future at that park. And let me tell you, it was pure bliss.

But let me back up a bit.

I've been through several different stages of park life with my 4 year old son. When he was a few months old, big enough to sit up but not yet crawling, I'd take him over to the park for my own socialization. I'd push him a bit in the baby swings or hold on to him down the smallest slide, hoping as we walked over that there would be another adult there to talk to.

As Lucas got a bit older, my socialization decreased because I had to stay within a foot or two of him as he careened around the park on unsteady toddler legs. I'd get about five words of a sentence out before having to move along with him on his next adventure.

Most recently, my conversations have resumed. Lucas is big enough to be across the park without me worrying too much about him hurting himself. But, I still need to keep an eagle eye on him because these days when he does something dangerous, it is VERY dangerous. I find that I'm able to get good conversations in with the other moms of the 4 year old boys: as the boys rove the park in a pack, the moms rove together, too, keeping an eye on our sons.

But last week, glorious last week, I got a glimpse of the next stage: being a mom of a mid-elementary school aged child. You see, the second, third and fourth graders are big enough to do anything they want at the park. They don't need pushed on the swings or watched on the big slide. Their moms aren't worried that they'll chase a ball into the street because if they do, they'll look for cars first. Their kids aren't going to knock over the smaller kids or careen around with sticks flailing. Their kids barely need supervised.

And so what does the mother of an elementary school aged child do at the park? She sits and chats with the other moms. She doesn't break eye contact every 10 seconds searching for her child's shirt. She doesn't suddenly dash away while yelling for her child to "come back" or "put that stick down" or "share!" Rather, she sits and chats, occasionally fielding a request when her child runs up to her. But, this request is never to be pushed in the swing (her kid has already mastered the sacred art of pumping!) or to make so-and-so share.

She sits and chats; starts and finishes conversations; enjoys a lovely day at the park.

I have glimpsed my future and I like it very much.

Original post to DC Metro Moms. Unfortunately for Aimee Olivo, just as her oldest son reaches elementary school, her younger son will be in the stick-yielding, non-sharing phase of park life. But, the sit and chat is in her future, she is sure of it! Read more about life with her boys at Smiling Mama. She also blogs about getting out and about with kids in Prince George's County, MD at Out by Ten.

Dawn Mooney said...
I hear you on this one! But for me, I'm still chasing after the 2 year old and calling to the 3 year old (4 soon) who's usually in her own imaginary world. The 9 year old, though? He goes off to the playground with his buddies, leaving me to either hang with the little ones or, if it's naptime for the little ones, *gasp* have some Mommy time! :)

March 22, 2010 at 05:38 PM Suzie P. said...
Same here! I glimpsed that world briefly when I just had three. Now that there's a fourth, I've been ripped away from the precious sit and watch your kids play at the park stage. day soon!

March 24, 2010 at 02:10 PM Meg said...
I don't miss chasing the wee ones in the park. And it gets even better: Just wait till they get old enough that you can read a magazine while they confidently swim in the pool!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

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