Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Green

Do kids have fun any more?? Seriously. I remember being a nanny in college for a family in Scarsdale. After I passed the initial screening process, she then gave me a four page instruction sheet on what I couldn’t say or how not to act in front of Michael. Never use the word ‘no’. Don’t say anything negative about him going to the bathroom in his diaper; (we don’t want to discourage him from doing something natural). Use positive tones when speaking to him. Keep in mind this little dude was only a mere 10 months old when I was watching him. I’m sorry, but if he poops himself, I’m gonna tell homeboy he stinks.  I can’t imagine how kids use their brains these days; with the onslaught of social media and indoor video games that profess health--do they even know what it’s like to get dirt on their pants?

Growing up, my childhood friends and I would spend hours upon hours at a place called The Green.  We would just shout to whatever parent was closest that that’s where we were headed and off we went. It was heaven.  The Green was a mini sort of forest with a large willow tree that seemed taller than any skyscraper with a large swing attached.  We would grab the swing and walk it up the dirt hill, get a running start downwards and hang on for dear life. If we felt lazy we’d just sit atop the rustic wooden paddle and hang in mid-air. Enveloped by The Green, we were accountable to no one; we would play there for hours, swinging and laughing and imagining the day away. It was as if time held its breath for us, and we were allowed be completely free protected by the emerald foliage.

Esme’s childhood home was right around the corner from our beloved Green, so chances were if we were at her house with nice weather, we'd be there. It was on one of these idyllic spring days we were swinging and laughing, when Ryan decided to run down the hill, grasping the seat of the swing, gung ho. (I should mention that all around the base of the willow tree were pricker bushes, making the notion of our swing that much more dangerous and exciting. ) Just as the swing was at the peak of it’s height above the ground, Ryan just let go of the swing—not on purpose, but it’s as if his hands decided to betray him. Esme stood there wide eyed, disbelieving what just happened. Me, being the Satan child that I was, began rolling around on the dirt hill hysterically laughing. The pricker bushes were moving, and you could hear Ryan pant and yelp as he emerged from the terrorizing shrubs. He finally made it out of his spikey hell, stunned and dazed yet all of his confusion subsided when he saw me in fits of giggles. No longer was he a victim to the razor like thorns, but an angry survivor pissed I was mocking his struggle.  He started screaming at me as if I was the reason he was hurt to begin with. The louder he screamed, the more I couldn’t help but laugh. I still don’t think he’s recovered.

Escaping to lush wonderlands with friends and using nature as our entertainment was what made my childhood perfect. Every kid should be able to experience that, and if they’re really lucky, the swing will be included.

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