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Playground Moments

A trip to the mall usually nets me a well deserved ice blended coffee drink, and the children are treated to a romp on the mall playground. So that I can sit and enjoy said coffee concoction. While catching my breath.

A win win situation.

The play area is enclosed with circular booth type seating. I station myself by the exit, in case Jensen tries to make a break for it. And yes, in a past visit, I’ve had to leap over a row of parents to catch him. Before he reached the threshold to Victoria’s Secret.

Where most certainly I would have had to scoop him up and clasp my hand over his mouth before he began screaming, “BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES, MOMMY!” Instinctively, I just know these things.

On this particular day, I planted myself firmly on the naugahyde and watched my children take their shoes off in preparation for play. While Cailey and Jensen scampered off, Emme came over, shoes in hand, and plunked down beside me.

“Mom, can I have some of your coffee drink?”

“Nice try.”

In silence, we sat close, watching the two younger siblings making public spectacles of themselves.

“Why don’t you go play?” She loves this playground. We’ve been coming here since she was a baby.

She just shrugged her small shoulders. And continued watching her younger sister throw herself down the slide upside down. I turned and looked long at my daughter, whose profile nearly reached my own. And it hit me.

She’s growing up. She thinks this is a “baby” playground. This tall child of mine is hovering between little girl and young lady. One minute, she’s running around the house holding fast to her beloved puppy dog and blanket, talking in a baby voice, and then she’s spending 30 minutes in the bathroom trying to get her hair to look “just right.”

“Are you too big for this playground, Emme?” She sighed, and nodded her head. Then she slipped her hand into mine and leaned her head on my shoulder.

A moment I wanted to bottle up and hold close to my breast forever.

“Emme, never stop holding my hand in public. Okay?”

“Okay, Mom.”

And with that, she let go of my hand and ran to jump atop an oversized sphere. And the truth is, some day she will let go of my hand in public. And she’ll be embarrassed to let me nuzzle her neck with a kiss.

Most every day brings a new challenge, it seems. And there are days I don’t think I’m going to make it to the next. Without the aid of some really good medication.

So, I hang onto these playground moments. And savor every second I have with my children while they are young.

30 Responses to Playground Moments

  • Oh you touched me with this one. I have 4 kids and 3 are grown and on their own. The last one is 16 and thinks he is grown. I so relate to the moments they leave childhood behind and look at us differently. I miss the hand holding and hugs, but I still get them occassionally. I used to think when will they grow up and now I realize I would of love more time with the smaller versions. Thanks for sharing your daily life with us. It sends me down memory lane quite often.

  • Thanks for the ‘misty moment’ there… sniff!

    You made me laugh to remember a trip through the mall with my then young teenage children. They were trying to keep sufficent distance in front of me and I was getting tired trying to keep up. So I just hollered out loud “Is this far enough behind you?”

    Funny thing… they decided I was too far away and kept me close from then on. LOL

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to avoid lingerie departments for fear of my two sons’ shouting “Boobies, boobies!” at the top of their lungs.

  • What a sweet, sweet story. My son is in that stage and it IS weird, but it really makes me appreciate the times he lets me love on him. And its so true how he will be too big for something one minute, then the next will be participating in what he was too big for the moment before. This was so well-written. Thanks for posting it!

  • This post brought tears to my eyes – this is where we are headed with our oldest – and I find myself wavering just as much as she does – one moment I want to hold her so close and the next I want to sit back and watch in awe of what God is doing – He is so good! I am so thankful for the ‘playground moments’ – the little hands in mine, the sometimes sticky kisses and squeezing hugs – thank you so much for the reminder to savor them! Have a great week – Sunshine

  • Oh, I don’t ever want these moments to end. I go in their rooms before they are awake and cover their sweet heads with kisses, because I can. I said the same thing to my Cailin recently- please don’t ever quite holding my hand in public, but she seems to be over that now, and so I cling desperately to her younger sister!

  • I am going through this with my oldest, and I’m not sure which one of us it’s harder on. She’s so eager to be grown up, and I’m hanging onto the little girl as hard as I can. I’m not ready for this yet.

  • You’ll just have to wait a time, and then she will hold your hand again. I’m 29 and my mom and I will hold hands in public sometimes. =)

  • I loved this. I hugged my 19 year old daughter the other day and just held her. . .and told her that I missed holding her like a baby. . .

  • My oldest 2 daughters are 27 and 30. We went through the Mom is NOT COOL stage, but then…they came back. I’ve held them during labor, watched them give birth to their babies, and still occasionally envelope them in a mom hug. Each stage is an adventure, their independence is still tethered to the mom who loves them unconditionally. It’s all good.

  • Ohhhh, and I almost forgot. Then you get grandbabies!! I’ve found cuddling is even better now that my lap is a little softer! LOL

  • I’ve asked both of my kids to please still hold my hand/snuggle. The Girl still does it at 11 yo. I’m hanging on to every second that I can…

  • Here’s a ray of hope…my 18 year old still holds my hand and hugs me in public.

  • I remember the first time my now 11 year old was too tall to play on the Chick-Fil-A playground. It was sooo sad. He tried to be a big boy and pretend it was okay because it wasn’t really that fun but I could see him watching his little brother and sister with longing. I make him promise that he will still hug and kiss me when he is 20–he says he will but I already notice him looking around now to see if anyone is looking (sigh)! That is why I keep having kids–continual kisses! LOL!

  • Ok, you made me laugh with the boobies, boobies, boobies (because I’m juvenile that way) and then you made me cry. That is so not fair to do to a woman with PMS! 🙂

  • Thank you for this reminder- I needed it. I have 3 kids and my oldest is 4 1/2. I am so not ready for him to grow up! I think that letting them go is the hardest part of parenting.

  • Sigh….

    Each moment, even when it sifts out of our grasp as fast as dry sand falls through our fingers, has a precious quality to it. We grieve the loss of one as we welcome the next.


  • Hi DeeDee!
    I have to agree with Kim, it is all good!
    When they are old enough to have their own children and they call you up for advice, it makes you know you must have done something right. The hugs I get now are not only from a daughter, but also my friend! Each stage has it’s wonderful moments, and you’re right, we have to cling to them.

  • Misty-eyed again….especially reading this today on my Em’s 20th birthday! And thankfully she still holds my hand in public…and so does her big sister at 23…
    where did the time go? sigh….

  • This touched my heart today so deep. The first time we met them was at a Burger King playground! They were so little at 5 and 3 and wanted my help doing everything. I loved holding their little hands in mine. I knew I was their mother.

    And you know what? Even at ages 21 and 19 they still grab my hand when we walk around a store or if we’re sitting in church together. They’ve never been embarrassed! So maybe, just maybe it will be the same for you and your girls!

  • You know, their growing up is like a boomerange arc in slow motion. they start out close, move away … but then they swing back around. And once in a while, they put their head on your shoulder again.

  • omigoodness! what a tender moment. i’m so glad i still have a few years to go. although even watching my oldest turn 4 comes with its share of sadness pangs.

  • This post brought a tear to my eye. You have such a good relationship with your kids that its makes my heart ache. Im sure you will still hold hands in future…

  • Aw, what a bittersweet moment. We know that they are always growing up, slowly, bit-by-bit. But sometimes those moments hit so suddenly, and catch us off guard, reminding us that yes, they are growing up. And it’s not always so slowly…

  • Those wonderful days will be replaced by other wonders. Instead of holding hands and nuzzling necks you will get “mom, will you help me fix my hair”, or “mom, do you think (insert boy of your choice) is cute, do you think he likes me?” It changes but not always in a bad way. One day there will be grandchildren to hug and nuzzle, and then send home after you pump them full of sugar…

  • What a special moment. I’m so happy you shared it with us. 🙂

  • Aw, I loved this post! How i know those feelings. I get those pangs now when I see them growing up so fast. And I cried the day I made the decision to stop rocking my babies to sleep (they were both over 18 months old)! I love how you write.

  • I feel that way all the time and especially lately as our son’s birthday looms around the corner. He’s turning 4, obviously not quite a man yet (ha ha!), but when I look at him next to our baby girl who is 19 days old today I realize that our baby boy MIGHT not TECHNICALLY be a baby any more [*sniffle*] and it makes me want to pull him in my lap and never let go.

    I just hope when my babies get really big that I can handle it with the grace and persepective that you seem to have and not be the crazy mom that treats them like they’re 5 on their wedding day. 🙂

  • Wow!! What a great moment!! That is one you definately need to treasure in your heart!! My girls are almost 15 and 9. The 9 year old will hold my hand no matter where we are, but the older one…well, not as much. It used to hurt when she didn’t show affection in public, but she still does at home. i guess that’s the important thing!! Thanks for the great story!!