Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Surviving the risks

(How awesome would it be if this post was full of pictures of my trio playing in the sunshine today?  How splendid if I had thought bringing my camera.  Yeah, well... I didn't.  But you can imagine, right?) 

I took the boys to the park today.

They've been climbing the walls lately with all the cold and mud and well.... all the cold.

With sunshine and temps in the upper 40's it was practically a heatwave outside.  We made our weekly-ish trip to the library today (on a Tuesday of all things.... we're so unpredictable these days), and then took a 2-block detour to the park.  It seemed like good planning to me, knowing that the next wave of snow and bitter cold will be here tonight.  What better place to get those kiddos out to burn some energy than a playground?

It turns out 49 degrees and very windy is not so much a heatwave once you are standing out in it.  At any rate, the boys were thrilled and stayed on the move the whole time.  Even Tyler stayed busy, once he finally got the hang of maneuvering in the deep pebbles.
First rattle out of the box, Dale slid down the big tall tube slide, and what should he push out the bottom ahead of him but a sheet of ice.  Under which was a puddle of ice-cold water.  You know what gets wet when you slide through a puddle, don't you?  Mmm-hmmm.  Poor Dale.  I asked him once if he was cold (he said yes), but he never complained... not even once.

Dale and Alan bounced around from one piece of equipment to another, their favorite being the old, real, fire truck to climb and play on.  I think Alan's second favorite must have been the tall climbing bars.  They started at the ground and made a half-rainbow up to a platform about 6 feet in the air.  In general I am not a hoverer, but today I held my breath watching Alan climb up and over the first time.  

He didn't think he would make it all the way, but with a little coaching and a tiny helping hand from his 5'8" mom, he did it!  If I thought I had been nervous watching him climb up, I had no idea what was coming watching him climb down.  Yes, with his confidence up after going up and down and up again, he was feeling rather brave.

My heart was in my throat and my insides clenched up tight watching his short legs and little feet take every step, with nothing below but gravel, and plenty of shiny green metal to bump all the way down.  This is the boy who is so tough.  He has had so much pain that I couldn't stop, even some that I signed the papers and handed him over for, that it is so hard to stand back and let him risk pain that I could prevent.  But how else would he remain brave?  How else would he get to beam that proud smile for making it up and over and back again?  

So I stepped back, to do nothing but watch.  And then, sure enough, he slipped.

With both hands on the side rails he took a step forward and his foot slid right off that narrow bar.  Watching now in slow motion, I knew even being a few steps away I could never catch him.  But I didn't need to.  He caught himself.  Instead of falling to the rocks below (and catching chin and who knows what else on the way down) he held on tight with both hands and straddled the bar his feet had just left.

The momentary look of fear and panic in his eyes was immediately replaced with relief, and then pride.  And then, was that...?  Yes... a look of enjoyment.  The risk-taker in him decided that was fun.  So he hoisted himself up, got back on his feet, and proceeded to re-enact the whole thing.  Again.  And again.  And then with variations.  With a smile that stretched from ear to ear.

I don't know if our chilly 30 minute romp at the park burned enough energy to get us through the snow days ahead or not, but the sunshine and the change of pace were both wonderful.  For all of us.  

As we headed off to buckle up, I think Dale said it best:

"Other than getting my rear-end wet, that was FUN!!"


Kristin said...

I loved this story. i seriously lol-ed at dale's comment.
p.s. i'm leaving this comment on matt's phone!!!

ArkGrandma said...

Thanks...that was FUN.