Do you remember the day you became socially dispensable on the playground?
For quite some time now, any trip to the neighborhood playground has included either myself, Mrs. LIAYF, or both of us hovering around Lukas to make sure that his attempts to climb, jump, or slide didn't end up like a scene from, Trauma - Life in the ER.
Perhaps being first time parents we often took things a bit too far by climbing around on the equipment with him, providing our own form of entertainment and encouragement while our little man learned to navigate the ups and downs, both physical and social, of the Jungle Gym.
Up to this point we have yet to sit back in one spot and watch with confidence as our son climbs from one side of a tall structure to the other secure in the knowledge that he is properly aware of the inherent dangers that it possesses. As a result of this constant presence and interaction, we have most often been our son's social entertainment at the playground too.
However, while arriving a local park this past weekend I was intently engaged in conversation with my lovely wife. Lukas immediately ran over to a playground boat complete with foam 'water' surrounding it and began pretending he was the captain and he had fallen overboard.
Then after a few moments I tuned in to what he was saying and heard him call out "Oh, I fell over board. Someone come and save me!" "I'm coming son. I'm coming to save you!" I called back. But Mrs. LIAYF stopped me and pointed over to an unfolding scene. Another little boy a bit older than Lukas came over and grabbed his hand and led him back into the boat. They then repeated the scene with reversed roles.
Sure, it was a pretty cute moment. But it was a tiny bit sad to me at the same time. I realized that it was just one more in the series of events that constitute my son becoming independent from his parents. Of course there will be many, many more along his journey to adulthood and each will also be bittersweet in their own regard.
I know most of my readers have tread these very waters - on multiple occasions. It's all part of watching your child grow and become their own person. But do you remember these little moments? Will they eventually blur all together? I think one good thing about writing in this format, itself in the moment, will be to help me remember these moments for what they were.
And, just as I was contemplating those very facts, Lukas was climbing the play structure. He waved me over and said "Daddy, you stay here behind this screen!' "Why Buddy?" I responded.
"Because, I am going to wope you and cage you! Dats why!"
Perhaps I am not socially dispensable after all. Well, not just yet anyway.