Monday, July 24, 2006

Playground Incident

Yesterday morning, my family took a bike ride to the park, and then my husband jogged around the park while Gabe and I played at the playground.

(This outing was premised by Husband asking me if I wanted to go on a bike ride to the park, my saying, "no, not really" and him saying, "it would be a good idea to spend the next several months getting in shape so we can deal with all the walking we will have to do in Vietnam" and then me flipping out and accusing him of accusing me of being fat and lazy. Sometimes, I am completely irrational. (Also, I am very very unhappy about my body right now.) And it is true I have been entirely disinterested in any kind of exercise or activity, with the exception of swimming in the backyard - and let's be honest, I'm not actually exercising so much as floating and paddling around. Anyway, after I realized that I was being irrational, and after he promised it would not be a 12 mile ride like last time, we set off for the park. Gabe and I on bikes and Husband in his jogging shoes.)

Gabriel and I were swinging on the swings. (By this I mean, yes, I was swinging on one swing and he was swinging next to me. I like to swing and I know this makes me look like a freak and that only people under 12 are supposed to use up space on the swing set at the park. I KNOW! Forgive me.) So, we were swinging, and suddenly this small Asian girl in a little white dress came running towards us. She was about three or four, and her hair was cut in exactly the same way that Lana's hair is cut in many of our pictures of her, and the shape of her face was so similar to Lana's, that, for a second, she quite literally took my breath away. I was suddenly possessed with a terrific desire to pick her up and swing her around and cuddle her and smell her sweet little girl smell. I looked around for her mother (secretly and weirdly and totally inappropriately hoping that her mother would not be Asian, so that I could approach and talk about adoption), when I saw her VERY PREGNANT and very TINY (and Asian) mother stuggling to get to the playground. She looked like under normal circumstances she weighs about 90 pounds and she looked like she might go into labor any minute. She said something in a language I did not recognize to the little girl, and the child answered her in English. The little girl wanted to swing higher. Swing higher! she said, over and over. The mom was having a hard time and I thought that I should offer to help her, to push her daughter so that she could go sit down on a bench. I should have done this, because it was hot and sticky, and she was tired and uncomfortable, and for some reason I was suddenly shy and I didn't have the nerve, and Gabe wanted, ultimately, to go to the slides. So, I smiled at the woman, and her daughter who reminded me of my own daughter-to-be, and we left the swings, feeling a little bit like I had failed on some level...probably some basic human level that says we should not let hugely pregnant women stand up in the glaring sun pushing their children on the swing without offering to help them...

LM

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