Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Parenting at the Park

We took Josiah & Mae to the park last night in Mission Viejo. It's Florence Joyner Memorial Olympiad park. Appropriate to the recent festivities in Beijing! Josiah and Cameron ran around and climbed and played. I sat with Mae on the bench while she slept. I was watching other kids play and what they're parents were doing. I realized that there was this family with a son and daughter that were playing a particular game. It caught my attention because these were some awesome hands-on parents. One member of the family would take off and hide and then the rest of the family would try to find them before they made it back to a "safe spot". I really enjoyed watching the parents chase down the kids and enjoyed the kids chasing down the parents even more. What struck me was how much fun they were having. Laughing like nobody's business. Two barefoot 40 year old parents. Kids running as fast as they can. Sometimes parenting can be so parent centered. It's all about getting kids to fit into your lifestyle and having them reach goals you want reached. This had nothing to do with any of that. It was pure joy within one family. Parents don't have to schedule or create these times, they just happen. I remember being little and in our tiny house on second street we would play hide and seek. All the lights out and my parents would hide. Usually my dad because he could jam himself into places no one suspected. I also remember random things like my mom letting us help give the cats a flea bath... that may not seem spectacular, but have you ever seen a cat get a bath? Nothing funnier. The best play things aren't bought, they are the times your Dad wrestles with you after work. My favorite bonding experiences with my mom? Nothing orchestrated- just a trip to Wal-Mart to buy a new bathing suit without my siblings.
I want to be one of those parents. A parent without an objective or plan to how I give joy to my children. I want them to have messy times and to never expect what Cameron and I are going to do for them. They're little lives should be full of just because fun.

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