I’m an older parent; so old I actually remember the days of going to the playground with my kids B.C. (before cell phones). Back in those days of covered wagons and the Pony Express any news, any “emergency” any gossip would just need to wait. I simply wasn’t available. I was busy at the playground with my kids having fun.

Lately at the playground all I see are parents staring at their phones as their kids play. I think someone should put up a picture of a cell phone with a big, black X through it. A gentle reminder to hang it up and have fun. You know, actually interact with your kids or the other moms.

Cellphones have taken over our lives. We can’t seem to be without one for five minutes and it is so ridiculous. I am not lecturing, I am just as bad as the next person. If I suddenly realize I don’t have my cell phone with me, my heart rate skyrockets. Oh no! What if someone is trying to reach me and I’m not available? What if there’s an emergency? What if my son stubs his toe at school or my daughter forgot her recorder or my friend calls to tell me about some juicy gossip from last night’s book club? Breathe. Breathe.

Okay, seriously, how many true emergencies happen to you in a day? Or a week? Unless you’re a brain surgeon or an Uber driver do you really need to be available at all times, to everybody? It’s exhausting. There are times I dream of throwing my phone out the window. Wouldn’t that be great! That satisfying crunch as that MoFo hits the pavement. Freedom!

I know what you are all thinking right now, “Great, more mommy guilt.” Well, yes, you’re right and I’m here to give it to you in the form of a little poem I wrote which I may put next to that “No Cell Phones” sign I plan on putting up at the playground, under the cover of darkness of course.

THE PLAYGROUND

You said, “Let’s go to the playground today.

We’ll spend the afternoon and have fun while we play.”

“Yippee!” I yelled, “I know just what we’ll do!”

as I ran to get my sweatshirt and find my left shoe.

“First, we’ll swing high on the swings and go down the big slide!

Then hang from the bars and play, “You search, while I hide.”

“Hello? Where are you?”  You will say with a smile.

(Knowing exactly where I am, all of the while).

Next we’ll look up at the clouds and see wondrous things,

like a rabbit wearing pajamas and a dragon that sings.

We’ll dig holes in the sandbox and pour sand in the trucks;

then walk down to the pond and feed bread to the ducks.

But when we got to the park I knew it wasn’t to be

because the first thing you did…was sit under the tree.

“Go and play.”  You said, “I’ll neeed to make one quick call.

It won’t take but a moment. Really, no time at all.”

So, I tried a few cartwheels and a front forward roll,

went to the sandbox and dug a deep hole.

I yelled out, “Watch this!” to you sat,

but you turned away, caught up in Snapchat.

You sat by yourself, staring at your phone,

leaving me to play by myself, all-alone.

I glanced up to the sky but saw nothing there.

No silly cloud animals, just blank, empty air.

I climbed the tall climber and tried out some new tricks,

then I sat on the swing and gave a few little kicks.

After a while you yelled, “Come ‘on! Time to go!”

So I walked to the car, my head down, my feet slow.

And as as you buckled me in, you said, “Oh, what a great day!

I’m so glad we came to the playground to play.

Wasn’t it fun! But boy, it seemed to go by so fast.

I wish we could find a way to make these special days last.”

 

Hate me now? It’s ok. I am a mom, I’m use to it and it’s actually in my job description to hand out guilt.  Now hang up and go play!

Author

Mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, writer, runner, psychologist. Reluctant dog-cat-rabbit-chicken-fish owner. Believes in the power of the sun, love, and tequila. Anne's writing has appeared on Bluntmoms, Scary Mommy, Ten to Twenty, Brain-Child, Adoptive Families and Adoption Today. Her first picture book, "What Can Your Grandma Do?" is now available.

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