Playground

I have been silent on this page for a long time.  I know that I originally set it up to chronicle my fights with my inner demons.  I know that I wished to set my more creative endeavors apart from whatever storm and stress afflicted my mind at any given moment.  It isn’t that I don’t have problems anymore.  Far from it.  What’s really going on is that now I have someone to talk to about all this nonsense. 

It happened quickly.  Neither of us expected it.  It wasn’t meant to happen.  But we all know how I feel about “meant.”  There is a woman out there who will fight for me every bit as hard as I fight for her.  I did what may end up being the only smart thing I ever do.  I married her.  She is my teammate.  I talk to her about everything.  She listens and cares.  Gives me the strength to shoulder the weight of every petty shitty thing people pile on each other. 

It’s incredible. 

Tonight, I had the boys.  My wife was at work, so it was just the three of us.  I have a lot of fun with them, mostly.  One thing about their behavior has had me worried though.  “I can’t do it.  It’s too hard.  I’m scared.”  That’s basically the battle-cry of the loser.  I have a video from perhaps a year ago that shows both of them scaling a playground structure.  Fast forward to last week, when my amazing wife and I took them to a playground.  The bars hadn’t changed.  The slide hadn’t gone higher.  I still couldn’t convince my son to climb the damned thing.  He kept repeating his horrifying coward’s mantra.  I can handle him insisting that I call his shoes by brand name (instead of calling them shoes).  I can handle him talking about how a Happy Meal is good for growing boys (despite my own adamantine refusal to have a McBurger ever again).  I can’t let him give up on things that are difficult or scary. 

There is hope.  Today, I showed the younger of the Destructive Duo how to climb the bars, then had the older do it.  “Was that scary?”  I asked the older.  “Was that too hard?”  I asked the older.  No’s to both.  “See, your big brother can do it!” I told the younger.  After a couple of aborted attempts, he was climbing it.  At last. 

And then there was the slide.  “Daddy! Catch me!”  So I would go stand at the bottom of the slide.  He would slide down.  I didn’t budge.  He scooted off the bottom of the slide.  “Daddy! Catch me!”  I repeated my action.  Eventually he stopped wanting me to catch him; he actually started yelling at me NOT to catch him.  FINALLY.

The older of the pair wanted to cross the monkey bars.  He knows how to do it.  “I can’t reach.”  So I stood by and told him he’d have to jump.  He tried to jump to me.  “Nope.  You want to cross the bars, you jump to the bars.”  He tried to jump to me again.  I repeated.  After a few minutes of back and forth like this, he finally leapt out into space.

He caught the bar.  One hand slipped, but he got it back up.  “Good!”  I yelled.  “Swing!  Grab the next one!”  He haltingly kicked his legs, one hand lurching forward.  He caught the next bar.  He kept going.  “Yes!  Good job!  I’m proud of you!”  By the end of the night, they were both climbing and swinging and sliding and jumping like normal kids. 

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