It was the first day since the snow had melted that it felt like spring. A slight breeze had infiltrated my home, twirling through my curtains, carrying the sweetness of the first blooming flowers. I made the decision right then and there to take the kids to the park when they awoke from their naps. It would be a shame to squander the day away inside four walls on such a beautiful day. I packed some snacks and it wasn’t long before we were headed out for an afternoon of fun.
As soon as I had released them from their constraints each of my children had vaulted from the van in a frenzy of energy. A chorus of pleas to be pushed announced our first stop as each clamored for a swing. Allison, my oldest daughter, grabbed the only swing unoccupied and soon struck up a conversation with the girl swinging beside her.
“Hi! My name is Allison. This is my mom and I am five. What is your name?” she asked the girl with the brown pigtails. I propelled her forward and encouraged her to pump her feet.
“Well, my name is Katie Lynn Montgomery and I’m six,” she replied back an edge of smugness in her tone that toted she was one year older. “That is my mom over there.” She pointed and then waved at a very well put together blonde that we had passed earlier. The blonde woman waved back. “I don’t need her to push me because I know how to do it all by myself.”
I was taken aback by her reply and instantly felt defensive. Allison however did not miss a beat.
“Oh that’s cool,” she had replied. “I’m still practicing but soon I’ll be able to go as high as the sky all by myself.”
The conversation continued and it wasn’t long before Allison informed that I was no longer needed as her and her new friend Katie left the swings for a new adventure. As I watched her walk away yapping a mile a minute with her newfound friend I found myself amazed at how outgoing she was, not at all like her mother. I had deliberately chosen a park bench on the other side of the park to avoid conversation with the woman that I now had learned was Katie’s mom. I also had done my best to avoid eye contact.
Now that Allison had abandoned the swings, the twins were also ready to move onto something more exciting.
“Down Mommy, Down!” they protested in unison.
One by one I scooped them out. I smiled as I watched them race each other across the lawn. Then it happened. Ann suddenly was diverted from beating her brother and was focused in on Katie’s mom, heading straight toward her. I instantly spotted the clear plastic bag of goldfish crackers similar to the ones we had packed. Eek! Now, not only was I going to have to make small talk, something I had carefully avoided; I was also going to have to apologize for my thief of a child.
I quickly rushed over just in time to snag the bag from Ann’s chubby fingers before she let one swim in her pool of drool. Katie’s mom looked up suddenly from her book at my approach, piercing me with her sparkly blue eyes. With my heart racing I quickly apologized and explained we had packed a similar snack.
“Oh that is ok, she can have some of these.” Her perfect hair swiveled around to smile at Ann. “We have plenty. That is if you don’t mind?” she inquired glancing back at me as Ann eagerly reached her hand forward at the invitation.
“Ok Ann, just a few.” I was eager to exit from the awkward scene that had unfolded. “We have our own snacks we can go eat if you’re hungry.”
As Katie’s mom leaned forward to fill Ann’s outstretched hand with crackers the book in her lap slipped forward and landed at my feet. I reached down to pick it up and took in the familiar face of Beth Moore staring back at me. The title read “So Long Insecurity.” It was the same book sitting on my nightstand. She hastily grabbed the book back releasing a nervous chuckle.
Suddenly I found myself smiling. “Pretty good book, huh? I just picked it up last week.”
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