I sit in the shade watching the action and interaction swirling around me. Most of my attention is focused on one almost three-year old girl. I watch her closely as she runs from one area to another. I follow her as she climbs ladders to twisty slides. I try to hear conversations with other children. This almost three-year old girl, Clara, is my granddaughter and I savor every minute I spend with her.
On this day, we are at a park with many options for play. A sand and water table captured her attention. Another girl brought cups and shovels to use with the water and sandy muck. She willingly shares with Clara. I sit back observing the scene around me. Families fill the park. They don’t know that I am watching closely, saving scenes in my memory for a future slice. Surreptitiously, I bring out my phone to snap a few pictures as fodder for my writing.
Many nationalities are represented in this park, which explains why I cannot eavesdrop on conversations, as their native language fills the air. I love the multinational world my granddaughter lives in. My nationality and age make me a minority in this park on this day.
A young family catches my attention. They have come prepared. The wife carries a backpack and I surmise she is a fan of Thirty-One Totes. Daddy appears to be new to this type of outing, Mommy explains procedures, often. There is only one child to corral, but Mommy is lucky Daddy came to help today. It is a tag-team effort to keep track of Landon. Landon runs from one area to the next with a parent in hot pursuit. He runs with his body tilted forward. You just know he’s going to take a header, but he doesn’t. Mommy tries to entice him by spreading out all sorts of sand toys (many look to be brand new from Christmas). The promise of a snack, brings Landon closer to the encampment. He grabs the snack and heads for a small house with a table. Mommy squeezes into the house with Landon. She gingerly sweeps the table of the sand piles, as Landon wants to set his snack down. Snack consumed, he bolts from the house. Daddy must run after him, since Mommy takes some time to extract herself from the house. Toys remain scattered in the sand to be retrieved later.
This encounter makes me aware of how unprepared I was for the park. All I brought was a child and my phone. Next time, maybe I will grab a snack and perhaps a few toys for the sand.