As my children grow, it becomes harder and harder to shelter them from real life. Last week we were driving home from the park, and an abortion protesting group was demonstrating near an intersection where we were stopped for a light. While I completely approve of their cause and support it, this particular group had highly graphic images of broken baby bodies, and Natalie was captivated by them. So far, she hasn't asked any questions, but I was heartbroken, because those are pictures I would have much rather not have her see. Those are questions I am not ready to answer.
Earlier this week we went to the park with some friends, and Natalie really enjoys these two swings at this particular park. I talked to her before we got there, because I knew I would not be able to keep Megan occupied near the swings for long. I told Natalie we would do the swings last, and that we would let Megan play on the baby things for a while first. I gave her my word. She did not whine or complain about having to wait, and finally it was time to head to the swings.
Someone was using the swings when we went over there, so we waited. Natalie decided she wanted to use the red one. Our friend we were there with wanted to use the blue one. We waited. And waited. My friend made a few comments about how nicely the girls were waiting, hoping the other moms would get the point. They didn't.
After we had waited 15 minutes or so, my friend finally asked the other moms if our girls could have a turn. The mom with the girl on the blue swing happily took her child elsewhere (the cell phone in her ear was probably the reason she didn't notice us waiting). The other mom attempted to remove her daughter (perhaps granddaughter), who whimpered some and complained about not being done. So the mom was like "She doesn't want to share" and just kept swinging. Natalie was standing there like, "what's up?" I told her she could use the blue one, and she very clearly said, "Mommy, I would like to wait for the red one." No way that mom didn't hear her. Now, I need to add that this child had been using the swing for a VERY LONG time. Not just the 15+ minutes we were waiting.
The look on Natalie's face here says it all.
Natalie eventually used the blue swing after our friend's turn was over. She was very disappointed, however, and left crying sad tears (not fit tears) because she had her heart set on the red swing. I was angry. She had waited so patiently, not crying or whining, but patiently waiting her turn, but because of someone else's selfishness and lack of training her child to obey, Natalie never got to have what she was waiting so nicely for.
I realize this is real life, and we have gotten over it, although Natalie still asks about the "mean girl" who "didn't share." I praised her for waiting so nicely, and we did something else as a nice treat together. However, these two events made me think about how hard it is to protect your children. It's a sad reality. I wish I could keep her safe and away from the sin of this world forever.
I don't really know the purpose of this post. I guess I'm just realizing that the sweet innocence I love in my babies is something they will someday lose. These two incidents were mild, of course, compared to what other children must experience, but it still made me sad. We work hard to create a supportive, loving environment for our children, but the real world is out there, constantly waiting to creap in and impact them forever.