Wednesday, August 31, 2005

at the playground with my son

Like a pinball, he bounces back and forth, velocity building then spending itself then building again. His short, fleshy legs can barely keep up with that which propels him. As he turns to run away from where I sit, I see they can barely keep up his pants as well.

“Be that one, Momma,” he orders, in his high, clipped, “I’m getting wound up” tone, pointing to the two-foot tall rocking-spring horse he apparently wants me to ride. “I’m goin’ faster!” he proclaims, convulsing ridiculously back and forth in his effort to bring his steed to a gallop. He grins at me madly. With orneriness in his wide, dark eyes, he then pronounces his desire for my horse, which he of course just commanded me to sit on. He charges at me, insisting I can take “his” horse. “I wanna be that one! Get off! Get off!” He comes at me yet again, no sooner than I sit down—“You be that one—I be this one.” Cajoling at least a half-hearted “please” out of him this time, I allow him, for at least the next half hour, to have complete control of his life. He exploits the opportunity to its fullest.

We switch again. “Ready, set, go! No! We’re not ready yet! Now! Let’s go NOW!” Back to my horse, over to the whale (two horses and a whale—what kind of stable is this?), now squeaking down the metal slide with his damp, sticky, non-skid body. We stop to remove an ant from his sandal, pausing to let it crawl around ticklishly on my index finger, flitting about as erratically as my toddler. Again I am relegated to a different post, only to have him immediately leave the one I just vacated to take off once more for the misplaced aquatic mammal.

We look so funny. Ants. Toddlers. Mothers. Bouncing around from thing to thing, space to space, activity to activity, our paths erratic and seemingly purposeless, attempting valiantly to assert what little control we can over the world around us.

God is so gracious to allow me to switch horses.

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