How strange at the park today, just me and the squawking parrots! No kids, mine or anyone else’s. The park was booming with life a few minutes ago…kids laughing, running, crying over skinned knees, the squeaking of rusty swings in a constant background rhythm. What happened at three o’clock? Is there a reason everyone disappeared? The sky is clear, no signs of lightning, hurricane or tornado. It isn’t dinner time yet. Mid-day siesta time, maybe.
For whatever reason, I sit, reading Atlas Girl on the faded bench, alone and writing. A tractor roars as it shovels dirt and covers the silence of an empty playground…and I reminisce about the days my five kids climbed the slides here, played tag, and splashed in the sprinklers. The entire park was cooled by the mist carried in the bay breeze. This was always one of my favorite places to take the kids, five minutes away by car and free. They thought it was a special day as we packed lunches, wore bathing suits and could get wet before playing in the playground.
I miss those days. Sometimes. I miss chasing them in a game of tag, the giggles when I found one of them hiding, watching them learn to swing higher than I wanted to swing. Their cartoon voices, little feet and warm hugs. Even my daughter, the youngest, has lost interest in the playground. So I’ve moved on to the next stage in life when I wasn’t looking. Teaching kids to drive, filling out college forms and praying for God’s guidance in their lives. This is nice too.
In my pessimistic mood swing, I think I’d rather not get old like the people I see in the nursing home where I work. I could go to heaven, meet Jesus and all will be perfect…but just as I want my parents around, no matter how old, for me and their grandchildren, my kids might want me and my husband to stick around to see their children someday, though they’re not thinking this yet. So unless God has other plans, I will have to accept the years passing and enjoy each day’s blessings as life changes…and I plan on feeling young forever.
I close my book and hop on my bike to head home. The park is too quiet.