It’s amazing what you can pick up at the park. No, I don’t mean trash or diseases, I’m talking about things overheard or seen that leave an impact on you. I’ve seen shocking things, heard ridiculous things, and ran in to people of all walks of life. Parks are funny that way. There is no discrimination, no cost making them accessible to everyone, and location doesn't matter, if you are near a park and you need to get the kids a little exercise or just kill some time, pull right up.
My all time favorite overheard park comment came from a mom who was watching her nanny play with her daughter at a park in Aspen, Colorado one day. Needless to say Aspen parks wouldn’t be the norm, which this woman confirmed with the statement she made to her friend: “I can’t believe you only have one nanny! How in the world do you do it? If I didn’t have three there’s no way I could handle it all.”
It was also from a visit to the park that I had my first argument with a toddler. Jackson, at a little over a year old, was playing contently by himself one day when another little boy came up and started bossing him around. He demanded Jackson leave any area he was playing in and wouldn’t share anything. As his mother sat on a nearby bench and did absolutely nothing about his behavior I took it upon myself to let him know he was being very mean and should share. I believe his response was, “well you’re not my mommy,” to which I replied, “thank God.” Sure, maybe a thirty-something mom shouldn’t be picking fights with a 3-year old but someone needed to put this brat in his place.
Just this weekend at the park I watched a mom pull up and let her two boys out of the car. I’m going to guess they were probably about five and seven years old. As soon as the second one had left the back seat, mom pulls out cleaning supplies and starts deep cleaning the inside of the car. As I was pushing my boys on the swings I looked over and noticed her boys had climbed the hill behind the park and were on their way over the fence that led to the road. I ran over to the mom who was completely oblivious to what her children were doing and said, “hey, maybe you don’t mind this but your kids are up there climbing the fence.” Her response, “yes, I do mind, but this car is filthy.” Lady I don’t give a s*** about your car, I’m trying to alert you to how unbelievably irresponsible you are and the fact that your kids are about to be road kill! Of course I didn’t say that, I just stood by and watched as she asked her boys to come down and then told them they had to stay on the playground, before turning back around to clean up more filth.
I’ve watched the babysitters who turn the entire playground experience into an opportunity to yap on their cell phones while the kids they are “watching” run around doing whatever the hell they want. I’ve seen the dad’s who have no idea what else to do with kids when left on their own other than show up at a park. I’ve seen the teenagers smoking on swings and gossiping about school, who literally have no idea what second hand smoke means. Then of course, there are the mom’s like myself, thankful that the weather has allowed us time out of the house, hopeful my 3-year old will wear himself out enough to take a long afternoon nap, and enjoying the entertainment from all the rest of you!