One evening this week, I had to do some reporting at a park, and because it was a little late, I brought Alice along.
Before we headed out, I stopped at the grocery store to get her a few snacky things – cheese because that seems to be heaven to her now, and a little chocolate milk as a special treat for riding out a long work day with me.
(Hm. Only now, having just written that, do I pause and consider the reasoning. “I thought she should have a special treat as consolation for the cruel torture of being taken to the park on a lovely evening.” But at the time, it seemed more like dragging her to the park. It was work. I felt guilty it wasn’t finished yet. Perspective, right?)
When the work was finished, I let her walk around a little and try out the slide. Alice loves a slide. And I realized she hadn’t ever played at a park before. We have walked through parks and around parks. We have sat on blankets and eaten lunch at parks. But she hasn’t been big enough, until now, to really play.
It is a jolt, how independent she wants to be sometimes. She doesn’t just decline your helpful hand, she waves it off impatiently.