"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Let's call this Summer adventure #7. (Are we still counting?)

Yesterday Mason draws the reward "picnic in the park" from the rewards jar. It also happens to be a gorgeous, sunny day. Which seems to be rare around here lately.

So off to the park we go. The first one has a million people. My skin starts crawling and I find it difficult to breathe. Guess everyone else had the same idea.

Uh... Let's try the elementary school playground.

So we continue driving. Twice as many people there. I think it was free lunch day or something. We keep driving. One park left...

Okay. Only a couple of cars. Maybe ten kids. We can handle this.

We barrel out of the car and the kids start playing dragons. All is well.

All of the sudden, out of nowhere, the floodgates open and the cars start arriving. A huge daycare group. A grandmother with 8 grandkids. Several playgroups. A pack of troublemakers from the nearby trailer park. Lots of moms and dads and kids. And a few random adults. And then, like frosting on the cake, a full-sized Suburban pulls up and parks three inches from my bumper.

Mama is puffing on a cigarette. 7 thugs, errr, kids barrel out. The oldest boys are way too big for the playground. The youngest are teeny tiny. They all rush over to the merry-go-round thingy that my kids are playing on. The biggest brother pushes down the littlest brother into a six-inch deep puddle of mud. Face first. The kid looks like a mud monster. He wails. Mama puts out her cigarette and stomps over to him. Strips him down to his undies and yells at all her kids to get back in the Suburban. They all pile back in and drive away. I think they were there about three minutes total. My kids are standing there staring at the drama.

By this time there are 30 or 40 kids playing on the playground intended for maybe 10. There are lots and lots of uncomfortable looking adults standing around staring. Averie needs to go potty. We load up in the car and drive to the nearest porta-potty. Gross. I hate those things. At least this one looked recently cleaned and had an air freshener. Hand sanitizer all around. Time for lunch.

Since we are already in the car, I have a good excuse to find another location for our picnic. We find a spot of grass with some nice trees near a parking lot. There is a view of park #1 from where we sit. I feel a little bit sick watching the fifty or so kids and dozens of parents crowded around the small, filthy playground. There is whining-a-plenty from Mason and Ellorie, but I have had enough of public parks for the day.

We eat our lunches and take a few pictures. Mason tries to climb a huge tree. The wind suddenly picks up out of nowhere and it's a little cold. Rylan starts crying because he is hungry too. The kids start arguing loudly about who gets to be which dragon with such and such powers. Averie is whining loudly about her food. She needs to go potty again. It's time to go home.

Maybe moving to a rural location has done me in, but I do not handle crowded, dirty, public places well. Even outside places. I can handle people I know, or am even somewhat acquainted with. I just really struggle with large groups of strangers in small places. Especially when my children are involved.

My poor kids think I'm the meanest mom of all. Maybe I am, but I'm okay with that.


Heather said...

I'm the same way. I try to avoid parks at all costs. Maybe it's the teacher part of me that needs a break from other people's children.

Debbie Murdock said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one that drives to find a park that's not too crowded AND it absolutely drives me nuts when you go to play on toys and there are teenagers "hanging out" and you feel really weird about your kids being around them or they are running through the play sets knocking everyone over.

Bryce and Sharee said...

That is craziness!! I have never had that experience at a park, fortunately, since Case loves his park time.

Melissa said...

Wow - I am not sure what to say. I am still picturing the cigarette puffing mom and the mortified boy stripped down to his underwear. Perhaps the next reward can say "picnic in the backyard".

Brittany said...

Yeah I have a hard time with other children, especially ones that look too big to be playing on certain toys. I just went to a public pool today and it was so crowded and children kept coming by us stomping as hard as they could.

The Wendt Wagon said...

I would love to live in a rural area. You just described every place here in San Jose. I am getting very tired of fast paced, crowded, dirty places too. I so agree with your post. Kudos for trying to be a good mama. Your kids will understand later.

Anna said...

Your kids will understand one day: Crowds stink! (That is why I avoid all Christmas shopping after Black Friday.) I have zero tolerance for crowd mentality, tight parking, and personal discomforts that could be avoided.