April 15, 2007

Saturday in the Park


The skies have been grey lately so when the sun came out briefly yesterday afternoon, my husband and I herded the teenage boys into the car and drove to Pretty Colour Lakes to take advantage of the warmth. Even though it was late afternoon, Shaggy Hair Boy, as you can see from the photograph, was still wearing his pajama pants. The boys had been up late playing poker, and I figured some fresh air would be good for them. My plan was to walk the trails around the lake, but they insisted on stopping at the playground first.

The playground is designed for small children, but no small children were in sight on this cold day, and we had the place to ourselves. It's funny how quickly teenagers will drop their attitudes to revert to childlike play. They slid down the slides, climbed the spider web, and even wedged themselves into the colorful train. The air was chilly, but it felt good to be out in the sun.

When we had slid down every slide and climbed every structure, we started on the trail around the lake. "You two go the other way," Shaggy Hair said to my husband and me, waving us off. "We will meet you halfway."

So my husband and I walked the lake clockwise, while the boys went running onto the trail that would take them around counterclockwise. The ice is gone from the lake now, and the water was shining a deep turquoise colour. Because the trees were bare, I could look across the lake and see the boys moving down the trail, disappearing when they came to clumps of cedar trees. They seemed so grown up all of a sudden. I could remember the days when we couldn't make it around the lake without a child begging to be carried.

As we walked, I reminisced about how I used to come to the lake by myself on summer evenings when the kids were young. After a whole day of toddlers hanging onto me, a baby wanting to nurse, and young kids fighting over who wanted to sit on my lap, I could hardly wait until my husband got home so I could to toss him the baby, grab the car keys, and escape to a place where I could have an hour to myself.

"It's sort of ironic, isn't it?" my husband asked. "Now you are sad because they are so independent and don't need you."

Parenting does certainly swing you from one extreme to the other awfully quickly.

After the quiet walk along the cedar-lined paths, we ended up back on the beach, at the playground. Skater Boy was climbing up the slide, and With-a-Why was crawling under the train. "Let's all do the Spider Web!" Shaggy Hair Boy yelled. I watched them as they raced about, talking and laughing and climbing onto these little animals on springs that were way too small for their bodies, the small playground bursting with their restless adolescent energy.

Reaching sky

Skater Boy climbing into the sky.


Preacher Mom said...

After a weekend of noise, fights over toys, whining, and tattletales, I really needed to be reminded that one day - all too soon - they will be grown. Thanks for the post. It is beautiful.

MJ said...

When I read that you had "let" the boys take the other path, I chuckled to myself. Becasue with 5-year-old twins, I'd have to negotiate which way we would go (always one child wants to go the "other" way) and I still find it impossible to imagine that there will be a time when they're out of my sight.

Like you when your children were little, I long for my time alone (which is very scarce), away from the whining and the inability to listen. And, at the same time, I fear the day that my children no longer want to sit on my lap. And when they stop thinking I'm really smart and know everything.

kathy a said...

oh, this is a fabulous post! it brought back a memory of me and 2 good friends in college, playing on a playground, promising to meet and do it again when we are 83. now that we are all near 50, 83 seems like a plausible age, so maybe we will.

Mona Buonanotte said...

There's such a sense of victory in the spider web photo...you're amazing!

Kyla said...

My first baby will be 5 this weekend. I'm getting a taste of how fast it goes. 5 just sounds ancient to me!

Yankee T said...

Nodding my head. It's so familiar. One minute they won't leave you alone, the next...poof! They're grown.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Such nice photos!!! WOW! And such a poignant and meaningful and familiar story, so nicely done! :-D Mary

Busymomma66 said...

I love your photos! What kind of camera do you have?

jo(e) said...

Busymommma66: I just have a point-and-shoot camera, a Kodak EasyShare CX7330. I think I paid about $100 for it.

Someday I'd like to buy a better camera and learn something about photography. Perhaps after my kids are all grown up, and I have more time.

LMC said...

That looks like an AWESOME playground.