It was beautiful here yesterday. Unseasonably warm to the point that the gal across the street from my daughter’s house was washing her car in shorts and a tank top, her toddler “helping” in nothing but a diaper. Personally, I was very comfortable in my long-sleeve t-shirt and running pants, but, hey, I’m old.
When Lilli got home from school, I told her that I would take her, and her brother, to the park after she finished her homework. Spurred on by thoughts of slides, swings, and possible friends from school to play with, she gave it her utmost and we were soon out the door.
It was a double score on friends, as she spotted two right off the bat and off she ran to play. Brody had brought along a skateboard that he loves to play with on the walking paths that surround the playground, so I sat on a bench where I could see them both. Things were going great until one of Lilli’s friends left and she and her other friend wanted to swing. The swings were located on the other side of the playground from where Brody was playing, and since she wanted me to push her, I told Brody that we needed to bring the skateboard to the paths by the swings so I could still see him.
His reaction was as if I’d said, “Hey Brody, how about I take all your toys forever and ever, and we never go to the park again?”
He didn’t want to stop what he was doing, even to be moved to another location, steps away, to do the VERY SAME THING. He started to wail, and went completely limp, falling to the ground in a pitiful heap. Ah, the emotions of the two year old. Color him dramatic.
When explaining it again didn’t work, I scooped up his 38 pounds of dead weight with relative ease (which, of course, is a lie because, if you will remember, I am old), carried him to a spot where I could see him, and sat him on the ground, still crying. I told him that when he stopped crying, and stood up, he could play with his skateboard.
I pushed Lilli, who was enjoying her time immensely. We laughed and played and, all the while, Brody sat there.
Arms folded across his chest, with tear tracks rivaled only by the glazed-donut coating of snot around his nose, he was a vision of defiance.
Reminding him that we only had a little while left at the park, I asked if he was ready to apologize for his behavior and play.
He shook his head.
Two minutes before we had to leave, he stood up and told me he was sorry, but by then, the skateboard was being packed away into the trunk of the car, and fresh tears started to flow.
You know, defiance is an incredible waste of time, and not a market cornered by the toddler set. The angry, I-want-my-way, hold outs that we still perform as adults are nothing more than elaborate pity parties that, frankly, do little to elicit the sympathy of others and do a lot to remove us from the action of our own lives.
So, let’s stop crying.
And get back in the game before our time’s up.
God, our God, spoke to us: “You’ve stayed long enough at this mountain. On your way now. Get moving. ~ Deuteronomy 1:6 MSG