Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#33: Lessons from the playground. (Another spin on getting along).

Topic # 33: Lessons from the playground. Another spin on getting along.

He stares out the window with a depth and soulfulness that makes me wonder if he is actually taking in every shade of refracted light stemming from the droplets of condensation on the window. 

He is so still and so quiet. And yet so present and aware. 

We pull over to the side of the road, where the green grass exceeds the height of the cement marker used to instruct me on where to position my car. I pull him out. He looks down at the ground. I can almost hear his thoughts "Mom parked on the yellow line again. Doesn't she know she is supposed to park between the lines, not on them?"

From the distance, I hear the voices. Laughter, squeals, and screeches of delight. Someone shouts "No Fair!"  I hear an adult voice loudly drowning out the other sounds: "Tommy! Leave your brother alone!"

He doesn't raise his head, but cocks his ear as if to acknowledge that- yes- he hears them too. More than that, he hears the sound of the wind floating across the wings of the birds that have taken flight overhead.  He hears the buzzing of the bumblebee as it hover over its conquest, embracing into its bosom the sweet nectar of life. He hears the rabbit, perched merrily on top of a mound of dirt, gleefully gnawing on a blade of grass

"But- yes, mom- I also hear the voices. I know that they are there." 

I look at him, waiting for a cue. He does not ask to go back into the car. I can press him further.

"Sammie Baby, it's a beautiful day! We are at the park. Would you like to play here for a little while? I can push you on the swings if you'd like."

I pause, waiting for an answer that will not escape his lips. I watch his face and body closely, waiting for the slightest movement to betray his heart's desires. 

It takes him a moment to lift his eyes and take in his surroundings. 

Slowly, he looks around, examining the environment and assessing the situation. 

He glances at my eyes. 

Briefly, then its gone. 

That means yes.   

He lets me take his hand and smiles. He knows I've understood him. He likes that we just "get each other". I wonder if he knows how hard I work at it...

The park is overflowing with joyful faces, young and old. There are blankets laid out for picnics, and shoes casually discarded in the sand. The older boys and girls are taking turns leaping off the top of the slide, as their parents pretend not to notice and attempt to conceal their anxiety. 

He is thrilled. He loves people and activity. He loves to watch them play. He wants to play too. 

He doesn't know that he doesn't know how...

He races off, faster than I expected. I run after him, carefully craddling the baby's head so that she doesn't get hurt as I bound as quickly as I can after his nimble feet. 

He stops in front of a group of kids, probably two or three years older than he is. 

They stare at him. 

He is different. 

He stares at them. 

They are different. 

He doesn't care. He smiles. He laughs. He hums. He jumps. He flaps.

When we don't have any words, we have to show joy with our body. 

The children continue to stare. 

"What is he doing" they ask me. 

"He is saying Hello" I reply.

And then he starts to spin. 

I hold my breath. I am being watched. I know that my cover is blown. We've been exposed. The panic rises and, all of a sudden, I feel like I am fourteen years old again, terrified of being picked last for basketball. 

"Leave that little boy alone" A mom calls out, from a safe vantage point in the shade. 

And the world stops. 


He spins


I am frozen


He spins


They are staring


He spins. 


"Ha ha! He's getting so dizzy! I want to try! I can spin really fast too!!! Watch me!!!"




And now there are two. And soon three. And then four. And they tumble to the ground in a heap of giggles, their heads reeling from the sensory overload. 

"Wow. He's a really a good spinner. He doesn't even fall down. Come on, let's go down the slide."

He stops, and watches them go. He is smiling when he looks up at me. He wants to go on the swings. It is must quieter there- no one else is around. 

We stay, swinging away, just the three of us for another hour and I watch as, one by one, the group starts to dwindle down to nothing. It must be dinner time. 

He takes my hand, and we walk back to the car together. And as I lift him up into his seat, I pull him close for a hug and whisper "Sammie Baby, it sure is a beautiful day."

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