I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to a playground.
My little sister Boo has been asking me for the longest time to go scootering, bike riding, running… Anything, as long as I was involved in it. And with the chaos that has been “get ready for college” / “see all the people you want to before you leave” related, I’ve said no to her way too many times.
So I said yes to her today, and I took my 10 year old razor scooter and rode with her down to the playground in our neighborhood. There wasn’t a soul around, so we had all of it to ourselves. I found a bench, leaned our scooters against it, and laid my sunglasses and phone down.
I’m only about 5 feet tall, so it felt incredibly weird to me to be too big for some of the attractions on the mulch.
Boo insisted we swing, so we swung.
She then wanted to do the little glider thing, where you hold on to a handle and you glide across a beam to another platform… Like a zip line but without a line, replaced by a beam of metal.
And then she absolutely killed it on the monkey bars. She went across what must have been 15 rungs 5 times in a row.
She challenged me and halfway through I had to quit… My hands got sore immediately and I thought to myself “wow. I really have no upper body strength”.
But it was when we started playing “don’t step on the lava” that things got intense.
The mulch, according to Boo’s imagination, had been transformed into boiling lava pits, and we were supposed to make our way around the jungle gym components without touching the groun– I mean– lava. (;
We battled the lava for a good 20 minutes or so of, and by the end of it all my arms and legs felt dead.
But my aching body wasn’t all I had on the brain. I thought about all the times I I had loved playgrounds when I was younger, and even imagined myself taking kids of my own to play on structures like Boo and I had just played on. And it got me thinking. What if everybody just put down the screens for a bit and played like a child (with a child!) for 30 minutes at a time?
My excuses to Boo over the past weeks we’re “I’m too busy”, or “I’m leaving to go out with friends”. But honestly, after an hour or so on that playground, and aeeing her face light up when she successfully conquered the monkey bars, it made me realize that she had only wanted one thing, one person to play with, some time away from everything. And in the fast-paced world we live in, I think we can more than afford an hour of escape to a playground. We just have to say yes.