I see you over there, watching me. That 10-gallon sunhat and those super cool BluBlocker knock-offs aren’t hiding your judgment as you sneer at me from the other side of the sand pit. Look at your zinc-covered nose all scrunched up like you’ve just smelled an egg fart! Careful now, or you’ll get that white shit in your beady little hate-filled eyes, and that will burn even more than the fiery rage you’re internalizing.
You may not realize I’m capable of seeing you since I have the audacity to be holding and looking at my phone, but SURPRISE! I can multitask.
I know your type, and I do appreciate your attentiveness to your child. Your pile of sand was top-notch, and there is no way your toddler would have been able to pull that off without you finally commandeering both the shovel and the bucket from him to make it happen. Bravo! It also goes without saying that your presence in the sandbox is a gift to all the other mothers perched around the outside. Listen closely and you’ll hear a collective sigh of relief from the group since you are at the ready to save the children from whatever harm they may befall in this sandy desert of doom. I too have heard of quicksand, and agree, you can never be too safe.
But back to the issue at hand. Literally. Yes, I am holding my phone. Yes, I am looking at it, missing all of those magical fucking moments one misses when they don’t watch their kid’s every fucking move in the sandbox they go to two times a day, seven days a fucking week. So sue me.
Now that isn’t to say I’m not watching my kid. I assure you, I am. But, unlike some people (ahem), I am not up their ass, trying to impart an encyclopedia of knowledge on them when all they want to do is scoop up sand, and pour it into their shoe.
You see, we are at a children’s park. A beautiful, safe, open space, filled with toys for kids to use and room to explore. This is where we come to burn energy and play creatively. It’s where it’s okay to make messes and yell. It’s a place we go to help build confidence, by allowing our kid to safely try new things on their own without hawking over their every goddam move. It’s how I cultivate my kid’s blossoming independence and show that I trust her.
Now, this doesn’t mean I let her run willy-nilly around the park, doing whatever the hell she wants, with zero guidance or direction, like some kind of wild playground hooligan. But at this very moment, the one where you are casting judgement upon me like God herself, we are at the sand pit. Not exactly a high-risk area, my sun-shy friend.
And what do I do while she’s practicing her independence?
I take a fucking breather.
Sometimes this means I catch up with a friend, or make plans. Other times I’m doing something for work, or even paying a bill. And other, other times? I’m mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds for no reason other than because it’s what I want to do.
Does this mean I miss moments? Maybe. But Jesus H. Christ, every single day is absolutely filled with moments, hardly any of which we will remember even long enough to tell our significant others about by the end of the day. Nearly three years into it, and I can say without a doubt, I have witnessed ZERO moments of anything happening in the sandbox that are worthy of lifelong memories. It’s sand.
So for this moment, these precious 11 minutes where my kid is happily playing in a sandbox by herself, without needing me to do anything, I’m going to sit here, on my phone, taking a moment for just myself.