it doesn’t have to be difficult

November 18, 2009 at 5:03 am 3 comments

Echo and I went to the park today. It was balmy considering this is the middle of November. It was sunny and beautiful. We arrived just as school was letting out at a nearby elementary school and I braced myself for an onslaught of kids and parents. And, as law of attraction would have it, the onslaught did ensue. I was so distracted by the many parent to kid interactions.

One dad tagged his not-so-fast boy in a game of tag:

Tag, you’re it!

Dad! No, I’m not playing!

Oh ho ho! A poorsport! Yes you are it!

I would do a quick empathic do-over in my mind:

Tag, you’re it!

Dad! No, I’m not playing!

Oh you didn’t like being tagged? Yeah tag can be tricky because it is set up for one person to be “it” and the rest to run and try to get away. Being “it” doesn’t seem fun to you? Well do you want to change how we play it? Is the running part fun? We could play a running game…

A little girl called out to her mom:

Mom! Look at me!

Careful Ella!

I got up here all by myself!

Careful Ella, you’re really high. You could really crack your head good if you fell from up there.

Another empathic do-over in my mind:

Mom! Look at me!

Wow Ella! I see you!

I got up here all by myself!

Woah. How does that feel? Can I spot you so that you can climb up there and still stay safe?

I couldn’t help myself from noticing their every action, or reaction, and it didn’t feel good. I’d dread a negative interaction and then, sure enough, witness a negative interaction.

Then I looked over at Echo, bucking happily on a metal bouncy “horse”. She was wearing the same outfit as yesterday, had the same matted hair as yesterday, and was having the time of her life. She wasn’t stuck in her head. She wasn’t obsessing over parenting practices. She was enjoying the sun. She was simply happy.

I realized it could be as simple as that. I could simply be at the park with my girl. I could feel the sunshine on my back. I could listen to her merry chatter. I could be around other parents and not be bothered, not mentally splice empathy into their every sentence.

With these new eyes I caught glimpses of the other parents now and then. That tag playing dad was really sweet and attentive. He was at their side as soon as his children needed him. His boy twisted his back somehow and the dad gave him a thorough and loving back rub until he felt better. That mom that was shouting careful! so much, played a rip roaring game of freeze tag with her girls. She had A LOT of energy and wasn’t just letting her kids play at the park, she was really playing with them.

I can anticipate lovely interactions and witness those too. And those lovely interactions aren’t as distracting. I was able to hear Echo’s merry chatter more clearly.

Here Mama, here is your seat, over here in this bay area. Now we’ve arrived at Ukelele!

Which is definitely worth it.


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not just dinner oh perspective… you tricky beast

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ivy  |  November 18, 2009 at 7:53 am

    What a great post. Thanks for sharing it! For me it always seems easier to see the negative, but I am really trying to work on seeing/feeling more of the positive.

  • 2. Marirose  |  November 18, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Yay! What a great post! It’s so true, it can take just a little effort to stop seeing how others are doing it “wrong” and instead how they are really “being there” in their own way for their loved ones. But it makes a huge difference in how YOU (the collective “you”) feel when you start looking for the ways others around you show love.
    I experience this a lot — this needing to consciously turn my attention to what is wonderful and away from what I think sucks. I think it relates to your post from yesterday, too. I hear myself say,”if we had more money we could buy a better car,” and, “if I had a bigger house I could have craft room/homeschool room/room for my own stuff and everything would be so much better” and on and on and on. I keep forgetting that everything is wonderful NOW and that it is only my thoughts that are causing my discomfort.
    (Although, seriously, a bigger house and more money really WOULD be totally awesome! 🙂 )

  • 3. Maryam  |  March 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    what an awesome post! i am definitely going to remember this next time we’re in a crowd and i want to run fast and far away. thank you 🙂


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