Once upon a time not all that long ago this was my very favorite park, but that was before Z started ending up in the middle of conflict each visit. I still enjoy bringing Az to the Big Park while her brother is in school, but the thought of bringing the two of them together has begun to make me feel a little queasy. We still go to lots of parks as a threesome, but the Big Park is just a little too…big. The kids never feel like playing in the same area of the park and it’s just impossible to keep my eye on both of them. The toddler always wins the battle for attention at the park and I begin to feel like I’m setting Z up for failure.
Today we had Migs with us and the sun was warm and shiny so I figured if each of us took a kid to follow we just might end up having a good time. And we did! I felt a little odd hovering over Z, but with a little redirection here and there he had a successful, fun time playing at the park with the other kids, as he deserves.
At one point I found myself answering the question, “How old is he?” with “Ten. And he has autism,” which felt incredibly awkward, but after the fleeting look of uncertainty my statement was well received. I suppose I was trying to head off the usual barrage of judgement about him that I’ve grown used to expect so that he would be allowed to be a kid. And it worked. :)
I spotted Az and her dad across the park slowly walking along the entrance sign and quickly took a picture before going back to my task of keeping up with an energetic ten-year-old.