A Walk in the Park

It’s really amazing, some of the things that little kids know and understand. I seem to think I have things figured out, but nothing is ever quite the way I see it. A little change in perspective; for example, the perspective of a three-year-old; can sometimes be enough to make you think a little differently.

This is my cousin Jillian posing in front of Oz Park.

This kid is a bundle of CRAZY energy. I never see her slow down except when she’s sleeping – and even then, she’s probably having all sorts of adventures in her dreams, so that doesn’t even count. When we went to the park this afternoon, she was running every which way, through play structures and down slides, up stairs, on swings – it was nearly impossible to even follow her with our eyes, much less actually follow her! It was a beautiful day, though, and it was really very nice to be outside. The sun was warm and the leaves were all nice and crunchy, like they should be in the fall. Jillian spent a lot of time kicking the leaves and/or hitting them with a stick. I’m not sure what the appeal of that particular activity is, but I’m also not three so I’m not going to pretend I understand.

Anyway, it was nice to have some time to be outside and have a chat with my mom and my aunt about life direction, which I’ve been struggling a lot with lately. They definitely had different college experiences than each other (and also than me) and it’s always helpful to hear other people’s opinions about the things on which I meditate daily. It seems like everybody has gone through a similar directional crisis at some point, and at least I’ve been able to identify mine at a time when I have a great opportunity to reflect and refocus. Hopefully with the extra few months I’ve acquired before the next time I start classes, I’ll be able to spend some energy sort of figuring out what comes next for me.

Of course, like any good afternoon in the park, it ended with ice cream.

If there’s anything Jillian did NOT need at this point in the afternoon, it was sugar (aka more energy). But she is just so adorable when she gets sprinkles all over her face!

She also seemed so genuinely concerned about the fact that I wasn’t eating ice cream, and proceeded to question me thoroughly about it. “Where’s your ice cream?” she asked. Followed by, “don’t you LIKE ice cream?” And when I answered that yes, of course I liked ice cream, she appeared even more concerned that I wasn’t eating it. That’s why I love seeing her perspective; everything is so black-and-white for her. In her three-year-old brain, me liking ice cream + me being in an ice cream shop should = me eating ice cream, because that’s just the way it is. I wish it really was that simple. It kills me that someday she’s going to grow up and be able to understand why I didn’t eat any ice cream. I wish everybody’s mind worked just like hers, especially mine. Because I really could have gone for a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard.

When I get back to school, the first thing I’m going to do is take Jillian out for ice cream. And I’m going to chase her around the park and push her on the swing and do all the things I didn’t have the energy to do for her today. She’s a smart kid. She deserves it.

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