Yesterday was the first day in nearly a month where the heat wasn't intolerable. Anxious to make the most of the nice weather, I decided that it was the perfect day for a picnic. I packed the cooler full of sandwiches, drinks and snacks, and we headed to the park. Scott, suffering with a stomach flu, opted to stay home.
The playground was full when we arrived. Kids were running, jumping and swinging everywhere. Robby was excited to join in the fun and scurried off as soon as I unbuckled the car seat. I lugged the cooler up the stairs and claimed a picnic table in a shady area.
I learned that there is a unique heartbreak reserved for parents as they watch their children getting rejected. I watched as Robby approached several little boys and innocently asked them if they wanted to play with him. I felt a stinging pain with each curt "No" that Robby received. Undeterred, Robby kept asking for a playmate. I wanted to scoop him up and take him home, but I also knew that I wasn't going to be able to protect him forever.
All of the children at the playground, with the exception of Robby, were older and participants in a day camp. The kids all knew each other and weren't interested in expanding their play circle. Knowing the reasons behind Robby's rejection helped, but it was difficult to explain to my sweet little boy. He simply wanted to play and didn't understand why nobody would play with him.
I was relieved when the bus pulled up and the unsociable little urchins were loaded and carted off. Robby and I had the playground to ourselves, and I was determined that we were going to have a good time. We quickly ate our lunch and set out to conquer the equipment.
Robby gravitated towards the firetruck play structure. He took the wheel and asked me to be the look out. I shouted out dangers and he steered the truck towards safety. We pulled imaginary hoses to douse fires. We stopped and filled the truck with gas several times. Once, Robby even let me drive. Then "Fireman Robby" spotted a cat stuck up a tree.
We took off running through the upper deck of the structure towards the fire pole. Robby fluidly grasped the pole and slid down. I tried to follow. I landed with a hard thud.
Half way down the pole I realized that I made a mistake. I felt a twinge in my back, and I knew I was in trouble. "Fireman Robby" tried to help me by performing first aid. Unfortunately he is only four, so his first aid skills are limited to throwing mulch at my stomach while telling me that it was a band aid. He was also lacking a bedside manner as he seemed irritated with my slow recovery!
After lying still on the ground for several minutes I was able to roll over slowly and stand up. After pulling mulch out of my hair and straightening my shirt, I told Robby that we needed to go home. He protested briefly but was easily bribed by the promise of a cupcake. I lugged the cooler back down the hill. I looked like a limping letter C.
I had to call Scott to come and help me into the house. It was then that I realized that I had hurt not only my back, but also my pride. I really need to stop trying to be young- it is becoming painful!
I spent the evening lying on my back, alternating between ice packs and heating pads. Scott and Robby went to the pharmacy and picked up my muscle relaxers and a chocolate cupcake. I wanted to take a bath in my jacuzzi tub, but thought better of the idea. Getting out of the tub with one leg is an feat in acrobatics in and of itself. We were fairly confident I would become stuck and the jaws of life would have to be called to pull me out of the tub. My ego had suffered enough blows, so I settled for the pills and my cupcake. Medicine for my back and my pride.
Robby told me that I was a good fireman, but that I need to practice sliding on the pole. He keeps bringing me cars and dinosaurs, promising me that the toys will make me feel better. On the positive side, he seems to have forgotten all about being rejected.