I’ll admit it. Sometimes as a parent I can be a real buzz kill. I get caught up with cleaning and laundry and projects that have sat unfinished for weeks. I do all these things and the last thing on my mind is playing dress up, or building a sand castle, or hide and seek. Which is where Andy comes in and saves the day. He’s the fun one. The really fun one. He takes Hayden most everywhere he goes and she loves it. Trips to the hardware store, pudding cups galore, and stops at swings and slides are the bees knees to a 3 year old.
I do my best to keep in mind though that very soon my free time with her will be occupied with another tiny human, and I need to soak up this time I have with her now. Which is why yesterday we just played. I have a kitchen filled with dirty dishes. Hayden and I have both been rummaging in the dryer to find clean underwear, and don’t get me started on how filthy my bathrooms are. But it was 81 degrees and gorgeous and we needed a play day. So we went here.
I had just a few errands to do, then we grabbed some lunch and headed to the park. What just fills my heart is when other children are there. Hayden gets so excited her “friends” are there and immediately asks permission to say hi and play with them. I wish with all my heart that she would never outgrow that spirit. Upon our arrival we were greeted by a little blonde girl in the creek whose grandmother was continuously trying to corral her back into her car. I know the feeling.
Hayden sprinted from the car and ran up to introduce herself, then beelined for the open grass. I grabbed our lunch and my reading materials and found a good spot to settle. There were a few other kids there but they seemed much older and uninterested in playing with a toddler. Until our little friend came back…
Meet Becca. We first saw her in a purple swimsuit in the creek. It looked as though grandma had caved and thrown some dry clothes on her and let her come back to adventure longer. Hayden brought her new friend over and Becca introduced herself. She was sweet and polite, and excited to play. Becca asked if I knew where her mom was. I glanced over and saw grandma had made her way over to a picnic table and sat down to chat on her cell phone. When I looked back at the girl, she was pointing up and replied that her mom was up in the sky. Just break my heart into a million pieces. I couldn’t even come up with a response before they ran off to play again. Once you become a parent, you learn that you possess a kind of love that is almost indescribable. You’ll also find that the thought of your child losing you is unbearable. The idea of not being here to love on her with every ounce of my being just kills me inside, and I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around it. If we could of stayed at that park forever so the girls could play together, I just might have. They were inseparable.
A woman had brought her little dog which they chased all over. They played countless rounds of tag in the grass. Made sand angels in the volleyball court. Ran down to the creek to spy on the boys. Becca pushed Hayden in the swings and not once asked for a turn herself. They made a cave under the slides and hid from monsters. In a matter of a few short minutes, they had become the sweetest of friends.
Becca’s grandmother had been yelling at her for a while now to get her shoes and head for the car, with her requests ignored. Hayden was now 14 shades of dirt and was going to be in need of a nap. It was sadly time to go. As I packed up our things in the Jeep, the girls got in one last barefoot dredge in the creek.
I loaded up Hayden as we waved goodbye to our small new friend. Usually this is the worst part. A fit inevitably ensues when we have to leave a place she’s having fun at. A few tears are shed and we have to go into that speel that we’ll come back really soon and play another day. But this day was different. She was sad but content. She didn’t cry or throw a fit. She just asked for the window down, “ALL of them mom..” and her water bottle, and talked about her new friend. At home we ate Popsicles and played in the sprinkler, soaking up more of that warm summer sunshine. It’s in moments like these that I am so incredibly thankful to be the mama to this amazing little person.