Don’t tell anyone but on a rare occasion I take my kids to Burger King. (It really is rarely that we go to the place whose employees once called me by name when I walked through the door.)
But recently I took my boys to Burger King not because they wanted a hamburger or chicken nuggets, but because the one closest to our house has a fabulous indoor playground. It truly does. And in these hot days of summer it seemed like a fair alternative to playing outside. So off we went.
Well, my sons are 8 and 18 months old. And the little one (Jaxon) wants to imitate everything the bigger one (Noah) does. And that includes climbing to the top of the monstrous slide in this particular inclosed play area.
Things seemed to be going fine for quite a while. I’d hear them giggling and stomping all over the place in the play area above my head. I couldn’t see them clearly, but I’d occasionally get a glimpse of a familiar leg or foot through a sliver of Plexiglas-glass.
Then came the time to come down the long winding slide. It was then that Jaxon decided imitating his brother might not be such a great idea. In fact, not only was it not something he wanted to do any longer—but his voice revealed that he was terrified of the prospects of making the journey down the slide. The cries started and then the all familiar sound of panic accompanied by the word, “Mommmm-Meeeeeee!!!!!!”
I tried to instruct Noah on how to gently nudge him to the slide and then slowly and carefully help him down. Nope. That didn’t work. Jaxon refused to cooperate. It became clear that the only solution to his problem was me scaling the playground equipment to the very top and scooping him up and sliding down with him myself.
When your child has a need, as a parent you want to meet that need. And I didn’t have much time to have a mental conversation with myself about how this would transpire. Like a mom would do, I reacted immediately and began the climb up the contraption that was never meant for a 37 year old woman to use. But as I made the journey to the top I reflected on a few things.
First of all, a few years ago not only would I have not had the energy, stamina or strength to hoist myself up into this thing to rescue my child—I literally would not have physically fit myself into the openings. I thought about how grateful I was that I had made the changes in my life that allowed me to do that.
Then I thought about the fact that I had always kind of wondered what one of those things looked like from the inside. And now I was getting the chance to see firsthand. Although I hated that Jaxon was so unhappy awaiting my arrival at the top, I was glad to get the chance to make this unusual journey.
That’s when it hit me. I should have done this long ago. Not just in response to rescuing my child, but because it was something I had never done before. This was one of the doors of opportunity that had always been closed to me because of my weight. And now it was removed. I began to think about other things that fit the same scenario. Things that I had never done, but would one day do. The prospects were exciting!
Well, you’ll be glad to know that I retrieved little Jaxon from the top, placed him in my lap and enjoyed a long and winding trip to the bottom of the slide. When we got to the bottom, he looked up at me and said, “More!”
“You have got to be kidding me,” I think was my exact response. But it was a neat life lesson to not be held back by the impractical or the unconventional. If you’ve always wanted to see the view from the top of the Burger King playground slide, what’s holding you back? Life is full of new and exciting experiences that are just waiting for you. So go ahead and try something new. I dare ya!