I worry a lot about my kids. Don’t we all? We want them all to turn out happy, and healthy, and kind, and smart, and creative, and self-sustaining. Yeah. I said it. We want them to turn out to be capable adults. But before then, way before then, there are other things that are important. Learning to play by oneself. Learning to play together. Learning to explore and ask questions. And find out the answers. Learning to be part of a community, like the wonderful one we have here.
Yesterday, in the middle of an 8 hour drive (on top of the 7 hour one the day before, an afternoon at a waterpark, an awesome visit with our cousins, and a RETURN to said waterpark that morning), we stopped at a Burger King playland for lunch and fun. Widget climbed right up to the top of the play structure and made friends. They scampered around a bit, having a great time, these kids from two different states and down the road. When I climbed up to rescue Little Bear (Oh, the Bear. Such an adventurer for a 1 year old.), Widget climbed over to me and nodded at a little girl huddled on the far edge, arms around her knees and head down.
“What’s wrong with her, Mommy?”
I don’t know, dear. Why don’t you ask her?
And, God bless him, he did. He went over there, crouched down beside her, and asked her, in a very concerned voice.
“Nobody will play with me.”
“I’ll play with you. C’mon!”
And without missing a beat, he led her over to the other side and they began to climb together.
The happy giggles and squeals that followed made me smile all day long.
Yeah. Little Widget, at 3, has the gift of empathy. He reached out to this little Kayla in West Virginia, and made a friend, with no expectation that he would ever see her again. Just like the little girl in North Carolina, our long-distance friends Ryker, Quinn, and Spence in Illinois, farflung cousins, and kids on playgrounds all over the country when we travel. Kids are resiliant, and outgoing, and this little one is going to be just fine.