Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Big Kids at the Playground

I took my kids to my daughter's school (after hours) recently to play on the playground equipment.  At the same time we pulled up, so did a car of three teenagers.  I didn't really pay much attention, as my youngest is a "runner" and diverted my attention away from them pretty quickly.

My daughter noticed them though.

I'm doing that "mom trick" where you're trying to keep one eye on each kid, and I can see her circling them.  She's giving them a wide berth, but it's obvious to me what she's doing.  And I think it's obvious to them too.

This playground has a triple slide, and each of the teens is sitting in a bedway.  Finally I hear my daughter speak.  "You guys just going to sit there?" They laugh.  "Are you too scared to go DOWN the slide?" she continues.  They laugh again.  She climbs to the top and one of the teens immediately moves so she can go down.  She turns around and gives them a look that seems to say, "See? It's not that hard!" before she runs over to another section of the playground.

I'm taking in the whole scene and laughing to myself.  I know that some parents are bothered when older kids hang out at playgrounds, but these three seem pretty non-threatening.  Or maybe it doesn't bother me... because I'VE been the big kid on the playground.

I have memories of hanging out at parks and playgrounds with my friends when I was in high school.  I feel like we usually went at NIGHT, but I could be mistaken.  I don't know if I can pinpoint why we chose to hang out there. Was there really nothing else to do in our small town?  I know I had at least one friend who was vocal about how much she loved to swing.  Maybe we were just going along with her.  Or maybe it was more than that.

Maybe even at 17, we were trying to go back to something familiar. Something easier. You know, playground rules. No pushing.  No cutting in line.  No throwing the sand/woodchips.  No bad words. Maybe we just wanted to pretend we had the ability to temporarily escape the drama of high school.

I like to think that's what those three kids were doing.  I can't imagine being a teenager in today's social media world. It was bad enough to find out on Monday morning that your friends hung out over the weekend and didn't invite you... it would be WAY worse to see it playing out in "real time" on Instagram.

I'm not sure how old those teens were, but maybe they were seniors.  Maybe they are graduating high school in a couple of weeks and are on the precipice of some big life changes.  Maybe as much as they "can't WAIT to be done," they are also a little nervous about the next chapter. 

So if they want to linger a little bit longer in childhood while they still can... that's fine with me.

Just go DOWN the slide so my first grader leaves you alone, okay?   

No comments:

Post a Comment