Auntie Time – Delight 22

At lunch, I got an invitation by text to meet up with my friend and her small children at a park after work. The plan was for me to hang out while she, a photographer-mom, took photos of her adorable children.

How could I say no to that?

By the time I reached them their photo shoot was winding down. I moved over to keep the three-year-old occupied while mom took photos of big sister. There, at the bridge’s iron railing, the toddler spied a ‘pider web.’ I looked in the direction he pointed, and said, uh huh, but honestly, I couldn’t see it. And then I shifted my gaze, and the wispy wonder came into view. Well done, little guy! I was in awe of what he saw and his ability to call it out.

The brisk new spring wind was picking up, so we made our way to the playground equipment—payment for patience and smiles for posing for mom behind the camera. As I followed these children around, I thought about how foreign these little ages and their great needs and greater delights feel now that my baby is weeks from turning 17. I also thought what a joy and privilege it is to shower love on other’s small children.

We darted from the stairs to the slides, to a ramp to other “older” pursuits, and back down again. I said a silent prayer of gratitude to be out of these physically exhausting years of parenting while admiring how gracefully my friend does it. I took little guy to the parent/child swing, he in a basket seat facing my grown-up swing. I placed him in it and sat down on my swing while mom and big sister were on equipment for longer legs. I pumped my legs hard so that he and I could really gain some air, and I watched this little boy watch me. He’s so sweet—COVID made it impossible for us to meet him as quickly as we met his older sister, and yet he was at ease with me. He called out the colors I was wearing and noted that I had glasses. A broad smile spread across his face as our swings lifted higher and higher. It felt so good to stretch my legs, breathe in the fresh air, and be Auntie Julie for a while.

Mom and big sister rejoined us, and soon we were back on the ground and making our way to our cars. I followed them to a nearby McDonald’s where we shared a meal and conversation. Sister counted to 100 for me (she’s five). And we talked while Mom was handling diaper duty for brother. We discussed the color of my frames, and she came up with the best color: blond pink.

When dinner was over, and we were headed back to our cars, Sister let me hold her hand to get her safely across the parking lot. Time with these little ones and their mama was my day’s delight.

One Comment

  1. One of the bestest times I’ve ever had was on a playground at Empire Beach (Lake Michigan) with our friend’s son, Eli. Most adults don’t “play” much and I had a hoot really *playing* with this little guy.
    The ride down a sled hits a little different in your forties though…

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