8 August 2014

Chance encounters at the park

Last night we walked to the park when I got home. This was an ordinary little trip, just you and me. We met two people there. Two ordinary, chance encounters which taught me a little bit about you and about me.

We held hands and walked down our road. You silently swapped from one side of me to the other as a dog approached. We didn't talk about it. I like to let you deal with your apprehensions slowly and in your own time. You've moved from screaming to be picked up when dogs approach to sidling round to the other side of me. That's progress!
At the park you immediately climbed up on the 'castle' and informed me that we had to escape from the witch who lived "over bere (there) in the witch house (climbing frame)" and then told me to "sit down bere Mummy and you must knit 12 hats, gloves and jumpers to keep us all (you, me and 10 imaginary friends. 10 is your 'big' number at the moment) warm and cosy in the winter. Come on Mummy, get knitting!"

After a while you eased the pressure on me to keep pretend knitting and asked if I could push you to the moon on the swings. I always pretend I am trying to push you to the moon and you always laugh your little head off. So happy. 
Then you went back into the park and tried to engage with a little boy who was wandering around on his own. I left you to it. He was a little bit older than you but a solitary thing. He didn't acknowledge you and just wandered about. Stopping to sit cross legged and throw wood chips on the ground in front of him. He stared into space. He seemed locked in his own world. Your attempts to play rolled off him like raindrops down a window. Your little face was sad. I left you to reflect for a few moments. Your head dropped and you sat at the top of the slide. In the end I walked over to you and explained that the little boy wanted some time to himself and that you shouldn't be sad about that. Then you excitedly pointed to the little boy who had wandered over to a crowd of older boys and had sat down at the edge of their group. "Look Mummy. He does have some friends after all!" You were so happy and I was delighted that, through the whole episode, you cared more about the little boy having friends than you cared about your own rejection. It hadn't really crossed my mind that you were trying to be nice to him and, because you couldn't, it had made you sad. I was too wrapped up in you to notice. Your kindness is palpable. It runs out of your every pore and makes me so so proud.
During this time a young teenage girl had arrived at the park. I left you to slide and sat on the bench. She sat down next to me. We'd seen her here before when she had played with you but we had never spoken to her, not properly. She seemed kind. I asked how she was. Her face lit up and she chatted away to me, slightly awkwardly but she wanted to talk. I remember thinking that I wouldn't have chatted to an adult so freely at her age. She told be about her family. She asked about you and she related it back to her own childhood. She told me she had never fitted in, and about the people who had helped her when she was little and about how she felt, then and now. A lot of what she said made me feel sad. She seemed sad. As we left she asked me my name. "Sorry, it's Laura" I said. "Thank you Laura. See you soon." She had said "thank you" rather than "goodbye." I had only really listened to her but I felt happy then, not sad.

You should always try to listen completely. In one moment, lives can collide. Those you meet, listen to, and touch, will become the foundation of your being. I hope, above all else, that you will always have someone to talk to. I love you sweetheart. See you tomorrow.

"A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference." ~ Winnie the Pooh

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