Last week at the kids play center, I saw what may well have been the most engaged parent I’ve ever encountered. It was at a kids party venue. Bundoora has some very interesting family venues these days. This super excited parent was a dad, perhaps in his late thirties, who seemed to have missed the recurring memo about parents being the sedate ones. One minute he was rock climbing, the second he was standing on top of the slide, hands on hips, yelling at his kids to watch him. He threw himself down the slope giggling like my three year old as she watched on. And it made me wonder whether his kids had taken him, or he’d taken them. And it made me wish I felt like I could do that.
I love taking my family out to visit the local kids play center. They love me for it too. But I can guarantee that for every time they’ve begged me to join them in the ball pit, I’ve called back a hearty ‘no way!’
I don’t really know why I do that.. I wonder when the last time was that I played on a swing or a slide happily without feeling like I shouldn’t have. I wonder when I last entered a kids playground. I wondered why my kids even bothered to ask me to play. I realised it was because even though they got knocked back every time, or nearly every time, that they still had enough hope to ask.
But I’m not here to make anyone cry or feel guilty. I just don’t want to blindly have my kids beg me to play and be ignored. I was judging this guy for being absolutely involved. I was watching him from a distance thinking he must have been unhinged. But what I realised after I pulled my head in, was that this was a guy making his primary school aged kids incredibly happy. So who was I to judge?