Passing Time on the Playground

It was absolutely beautiful this weekend, and as such, I ventured to the playground with the kids, our first trip of 2017. We went to a playground that we hadn’t been to in a while, one we used to go to all the time. When the kids were young, the playground was our weekend go-to, sometimes multiple playgrounds per day. But, when we arrived on Sunday, it dawned on me that we only made it to this playground once last year.

My children are ages 5 and almost 8 now. The weekends are now filled with activities and birthday parties and play dates. Our kids fill the time, not the other way around anymore.

As my son attempted to make it around the entire big kid playground without touching the ground and I pushed my daughter on the swing, I glanced over at the smaller playground. That playground was filled with toddlers, being followed around by their parents. It wasn’t too long ago that I was doing the same, and yet it already feels like an eternity.

I felt a sense of sadness in this realization, but the feeling wasn’t linked to nostalgia. I love my children at these ages– their greater independence, hilarious conversations, and ability to play games with one another. The feeling of sadness was linked to the passage of time. When you’re in the day to day, it’s hard to notice the aging of loved ones…including myself. But, being at that playground, a place I have gone to for the last 7 years, the inevitability of time’s passage glared at me in the memories that this playground holds.

I was quickly able to shake that feeling of sadness by taking in a deep breath and with it, the day. The warm sun on my face, my daughter’s giggling as she swung back and forth, my son’s determination to cross that playground, even my dog sitting by my side. I felt fortunate. I’ll add that feeling to my bank of memories and use it as a reminder to be present, enjoy the moment, and take each day, one at a time. We may be getting older, but we’re having a beautiful time doing it.

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