This week, River (19 months) and I took a trip to our neighborhood playground.
It’s a dream of a playground–tons of open-ended, well maintained equipment, and connected-but-separate areas for different ages of children. River and I normally play in the “5 and under” section, but we decided to explore the “5-12” area. It has a slide made of rolling cylinders that she enjoys going down, and the entire structure is shaped like a giant pirate ship with bridges, ladders and tunnels connecting the various parts.
For the first time ever, we walked around on the ship as we made our way to the slide. I held River’s hand and she was happy to explore until she saw an open section in the structure. It lead to a vertical ladder, and the drop from where we were standing to the sand below was about 7 feet.
She decided that she HAD to walk OFF of the ledge and get to the sand. There was no way for us to safely navigate the ladder, so I tried to distract her by pointing out the cylinder slide. She would have none of it, and actually started to FIGHT me and try to hurl herself off of the 7 foot ledge.
Since I’m at least 6 times her size, I simply picked her up, sung a song, and carried her off the structure to play on something safer.
But I was still in awe at 1) the downside of her fearlessness (normally it’s a beautiful thing) 2) her ignorance of consequences of actions, and 3) her need for parental guidance as a life-saving measure.
It made me wonder how God must feel when we fight his guidance and principles and try to throw our two-foot-tall selves off of seven-foot-tall ledges. And all the while, we’re so sure that this is what we want and need.
When I relayed the story to the husband, he said: “Do you realize that you’re saving River’s life–or at least keeping her from being maimed for life–EVERY day, just by watching and caring for her?”
It’s definitely a humbling thought. And in a few years, when I look back with sadness on how quickly she’s grown, I’ll remind myself: “Thank goodness she’s grown and (hopefully) become wiser and less of a danger to her own existence!”