I am not really Wonder Woman, but I try to be. Nor am I Mrs. Simon LeBon, but at one time, I was going to be. Nonetheless, I am a wondering (wandering?) woman whose been handed quite a life. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I might not like it always, but I trust the process....
Gosh, I was so excited about the thought of this park, this marvel of a park! Conceptually, I love it. It's gorgeous, well cared for, and really does offer so many activities for all walks of life.
I was working in Uptown while it was being built. The construction was extremely inconvenient, of course, but the payoff seemed well worth it!
This public park is really an .... attraction.
There's a dog park, a few concert areas, food trucks, an area designated for playing games and reading books. There's even valet parking (sooooo "Dallas". I've never been to NYC. Does Central Park have valet parking?).
Then there's a children's area.
"Children's Area" is inviting to a parent, and certainly to a child, but these days, I run for the hills when possible. Malls with the Play Area, Stadia with their Kids Places and now, splash parks. I was ooged out big-time when we arrived at Klyde Warren children's area only to be told to wait BECAUSE A CHILD HAD POOPED IN THE AREA.
It was over 100 degrees. This was near the steamy, slithery stream that winds around the area. So gross.
This happened over the summer to MLO when she went to Hawaiian Falls Water Park. She came home and told me all the kids had to be evacuated from the "Wave Pool" because there was poop in the water.
Seriously, parents? This truly is on YOU and your kid. It's a shame that any public park, and by association, play areas - with or without water - has to be penalized because you don't keep an eye on your child. Alas, I'm really shying away from allowing my kids to attend these kinds of play areas! Between lice, excrement, strep and general unruly behavior, I am compelled to find alternate play areas. While I recognized accidents happen, it just happened in too many places this last summer for me to feel comfortable any time soon.
I had a great time hanging out with Daniel. He's one of my verybestfriends that I met when I lived in El Paso. He lives out here now, a few 'burbs north of me. He's been married and divorced; the father of two lovely and bright children, one of whom is a daughter the same age as MLO. They get along famously singing their My Little Pony tunes, playing dress up and whatnot. They're the quintessential Two Peas In A Pod.
Daniel and I took our kids to play Lunar Minigolf at a local mall, then ventured to my favorite frozen yogurt place that's across the street from a park and fountain area. After finishing our yummy frozen yogurt, Daniel and I took the kids to the park area for them to run and play while he and I did some catching up.
Daniel's young son, a curious five year old, lost one of his flip-flops. The sun has set and the lighting is low along the benched areas. No telling where that flip-flop went. So, off goes Daniel, hunting a shoe with his little boy.
I'm sitting on the bench, alone, watching the goings-on, when the two eight-year-olds prance over to me with beaming smiles, palms filled with coins.
"Look at the money we found!" they beam.
I ooooh and aaaahh and then make a bit of a sad face, as it occurred to me that these were coins tossed in the fountain with wishes attached to them.
"I think those are people's wishes, baby," I tell MLO.
She realizes what I'm saying is probably true.
Her friend settles into that realization as well, but she's ever-thinking. Emotion was fleeting at that moment. "Well. I'll put mine back if you put yours back."
I smile. I'm kind of proud of her for that!
MLO agrees and they talk about it all the way back to the fountain.
A short while later, they return with empty, damp hands, then go about playing other games.
Another short while later, MLO sits next to me on the bench and sneaks a nickel out of her pocket, "Don't tell her, mom. I saved this one for me."
I was a bit disappointed, but I also thought it was a little humorous. I did a silent chuckle inside my own head. "Secret's safe here," I assured her.
Finally Daniel and the boy return, both flip-flops accounted for, and I hand the nickel to the boy, "Go put this in the fountain. It's someone's wish."
MLO shoots me a pouty face and quickly gets over it.
After saying our good-nights to Daniel and his kids, MLO and are reminiscing about her triple playdate day. The girl's dang popular these days, it seems. Anyway, one friend told her about the movie "Heaven Is For Real". Her friend said it was about a four-year-old boy who died, went to Heaven and was returned to life. MLO boldly stated she believed that that movie was a lie. Her logic: there's no way a four year old kid who hasn't lived much life would be able to give much to God. A kid who has lived a lot of life, like her, would have given to poor boxes, helped kids and stuff like that.
So I offered perspectives for her to consider: maybe God was using that boy as a messenger to teach someone something, in a way that only God and that person knows.
Nope. Not how God works.
Maybe the parents made choices that included the kid, choices on how to serve God, and he did so by accompanying his parents.
Nope. Not how God works.
She kept calling it a lie. I told her I accepted her opinion, and she needed to accept that her friend has the opinion that what happened to the boy is true. It's okay to disagree, accept the difference respectfully.
We arrive home, each of us changing into our jammmies. I settle on the couch to write a blog about the wishing well stuff, but hadn't opened my laptop yet. She comes out, her face heavy in sadness. I see she's been crying.
I quickly drop everything and open my arms wide to her, "what's the matter, love?? Why are you crying?!".
"Mommy. I'm afraid. I'm afraid God will think less of me because I don't believe that story!"
Oh, my sweet sensitive babygirl -- how could God possible love her less?
I showered her with love and loving reminders, sewing together her sweet but broken heart. She curled up like an infant in my embrace and I tucked her messy hair behind her ears so I could see her tear-filled eyes. I consoled her the best I could, hoping that she would hear the words and reassurances, absorb them and feel calm. Eventually, she did.
"Mom, I'm going to go lay in my room and listen to my music on my iPod."