Today was Presidents Day. Parker was out of school, and we decided to join some friends for play and a picnic lunch at a park. We had never been to this particular park and were very excited to explore a new place. As it turns out, all of Collin County had the exact same idea. While the park was awesome, it was also so crowded, I frequently found myself fighting off a panic attack as I constantly lost sight of the kids.
We decided to leave the main play area and walk down a winding path past lovely low hills to a paved area near the pond. It was glorious! The sun was shining, white clouds streaking across the bright blue sky. A beautiful swan paddled around the lake. After a yummy lunch, the kids raced around the pond, squeezing out every last bit of energy and fun.
We began our journey back toward the van. Everything was just perfect…
The kids began running up the hills and rolling down. What fun! "I want to!" I shouted and began up the hill, leaving Caleb in the stroller, in the care of my friends. Just as I reached the top of the hill, Parker began shrieking and waving his arms madly. "ANTS!"
Turns out he had rolled right through a fire ant hill and was covered head to toe. As he howled, I began stripping his clothes off of his flailing body. He was fighting me, and I realized he didn't want his friends to see him in his underwear. "TURN AROUND!" I roared at the crowd of frightened onlookers below. Instantly our group of friends turned their backs, and Parker and I managed to strip him to his skivvies. "MADDIE! Bring me Caleb's blanket NOW!" She rushed up the hill, and I wrapped Parker in the blanket, brushing fire ants from his hair.
I carried that huge, heavy, sobbing, embarrassed, darling little big boy all the way back to our van. It felt like miles. My heart broke with him every step of the way. "This is the worst day ever!" he moaned between sobs. "I know, I know, honey," I said soothingly. Because I do. I know what it's like to be embarrassed in front of friends and strangers. I know what it's like to get hurt, to cry, to feel like a fool.
What he doesn't know is that we all know (or will know) what that's like. What he missed was the beauty of the people in the background. The friends who quietly picked up his clothes and shoes, shaking off the ants. The moms who pushed the stroller carrying his baby brother. The friends who held his sister's hand as she crossed the parking lot.
Parker wasn't ready to hear it yet, but he is richly blessed. His friends care about him, about our family. There are there to love us and support us. And one day, he will return the favor, I'm sure.
There is never a dull moment in this crazy beautiful life, and for that I am truly grateful!