we are in aiken (s.c.) on our annual visit to spend time with my mom and the horses/donkeys/dogs on their winter mini-farm. before we left i for some reason imagined that i’d have all this time to spend writing/blogging while i was down there. i even dreamt up the idea of doing a little every-day-blogger-revisit thing. but here we are, six days into our stay, and i am sitting down to tap the keys of my old laptop for the first time.
today we went to the new playground built next to the aiken library. it is a really nice playground with that soft kind of rubber stuff underneath the whole play area and lots of things to climb and slide down. but, i have been somehow reshaped by our life choices in moving towards spending time in the woods and playing on fallen logs and giant rocks. i can see that this is a lovely playground all new and clean but the insanely bright colors and plastic african drum replica’s just feel odd to me. the kids do enjoy it for about thirty minutes but then we are all ready to go. i am not sure what to make of it. i want to be aware but not stuck in my ways. i want to embrace playing in the woods without becoming a snob about the whole thing.
there is a little boy at the park who is desperate for playmates. he follows us around from the moment we arrive, first kind of growling and screaming and then launching himself in our general direction. his mom is sitting at the far edge of the park area on a blanket reading a book. at first i want him to just leave us alone. i can see that the pea is unhappy that he is coming into our space and i don’t like how he is acting. but i can see plainly that he is not going anywhere. i take a deep breath and i close my eyes for a moment until i can see him surrounded by light. it helps, we learn his name and take turns running between the tree and the bench. but still, his behavior is erratic compared to my kids and he is talking a lot about things burning and exploding. i can feel bean is wanting social interaction with another child but also trying to feel his way around how to handle this particular kid. i can feel that he is sensing how i am to help him get a read. i notice i have moved into “waldorf kindy program teacher assistant” mode and i am trying to hold this little energy boat we are on steady. before things can get more intense we decide to leave. on the walk back to the car i know i want to speak to how that was somehow. how it was different than seeing their friends at home. how he was talking and acting in ways that they did not quite understand. but, again, i don’t want to say something negative and i don’t want to try to use words to explain something that doesn’t need explaining. we walk towards the car holding hands – silent.
then i say, “all kids are different.”
and beanie says, “yeah.”
and the pea says, “yeah there is beanie, and then me and that boy – all different.”
then it is all over and we buckle into our seats and drive home. to the place that bean calls, “our south carolina house,” even though i have tried to tell him it is not ours.
at home we eat oatcakes (one of several recipes i have enjoyed trying out from heidi swanson’s super natural everyday cookbook which my mom got for herself to have down here) and i drink more tea. then we head out to play in the backyard.