Swing Set Psychiatry


     Don't you miss those swing set days? Those days before busy schedules, work, and responsibility? I don't know about you, but I miss those days a lot; and I was reminded of that today, especially.

     I volunteer at my old elementary school once a week in a third grade classroom, and I love it. Sure, sometimes I don't like working the Xerox machine (mainly because it hates me), but being around the little kiddos is really fun. They are just so carefree and innocent--it's hard not to like them--and immensely so.

     Today was Fun Friday. Remember those? For the kids, it's a blast. For the teacher, it is a logistical nightmare, and yet, teachers keep on observing it. I suppose the trade off between having the kids run wild outside, as opposed to driving you nuts inside is well worth it--that's the only reason I can think of for leading a jumbled disarray of eight year old children outside once a week.

     Anyway, it was Fun Friday, and a couple of the boys called me over to the swing set. 
  
     "Hey, Lauren! Wanna swing with us?"

     How could I say no?

     So, I went, and swung with them. Turns out, if you are older than, say, a sixth grader, the little swing seats kind of cut off circulation to your whole lower body. Probably more than you wanted to know, but I'm just saying, it was not as comfortable as I remembered it being. 

     At first, they discussed which was better--swinging or skating. They both decided "swinging was better, because you can't be bad at it." I could totally sympathize. I was not, and am not athletically gifted. We'll just leave it at that.

     While we were whooshing back and forth on the swing set, one of the boys asked the other, "Hey, have you ever been sad when people you knew died?"

     Pause. "Well... Yeah. Except, not a person. I miss my dog. He died a year ago."

     "Oh. My cat got lost a few months ago. I don't think she's coming back..."

     Long silence.

     "Yeah. That's sad. HEY! WANNA JUMP OFF THE SWINGS?!"

     So, just like that, I witnessed a cute little swing set group therapy session. It really was touching, and reminded me of the simpler times. Times when I could just grab a buddy, kick my feet back and forth, and pour out my guts.


     By the way, do any of you remember these things? When I was in fifth grade, we would play "color ball" every day. I think about it now, and it was an idiotic game. You throw the ball into the little thing (I don't know what to call it) and then when it comes out, someone catches it. That's it. That's the game in its entirety. You just throw and catch. Throw and catch. I don't even think there was a "winner" or a "loser." And, I understand it's not all about winning, but you can't deny, games are a lot more fun when there is a winner (and even more fun when there's a loser, so long as that loser isn't you).

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