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Story Time: Playground wisdom

Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at 10:41 am

By Lorry Myers

I saw him from my lawn chair and knew something was wrong. He turned toward me and ran, his blonde head down, and shoulders slumped in rejection.

I have seen this look before.

“What happened?” I asked the little six-year-old, wrapping my arms around him.

This sweet boy is the middle child of three foster children who came to live with me not long after my husband died. Loving them has been easy, even though the challenges of the foster care system are not. I needed these children almost as much as they needed me and I cared for them enough to imagine the rest of their lives. I made a list of what I wanted for them and with the support of caseworkers, hopefully, found their forever family who checked off everything on my list. This remarkable couple grace me with sleepovers and playdates, including me in birthdays, holidays and school events. I am never far away.

Middle knows this and comes running.

The evening is hot and lawn chairs like mine, line the outfield. Beside the ballfield is a playground where Middle hangs out while others play T-ball. Middle is the kid who would rather hold a book than a baseball bat. He is a sensitive boy who has seen and heard things that maybe someday he will forget. Middle has a tender heart and truly believes in the rules of good behavior on the playground and in life.

“What is it?” I asked, keeping him close so I could measure the hurt in his blue eyes.

“There is a bully boy over there who told me I was two years old!” Middle wailed, the tears finally coming.

“But you are not two years old, you are six years old,” I replied, wiping his tears.

“I tried to tell him that but he just keeps saying it, and not in a nice way.”

“Sometimes you just have to walk away from people like that,” I said, smoothing his wayward hair.

“Why does he say it though? When I told him it hurts my heart, he just kept saying it.”

With that, I took a deep breath and pulled him a little closer. “The world is a big place and you will always find people who want to make you feel less that what you are.”

     “I know,” said Middle, “because I am six, and two is less than that. Why does he say it if he knows it hurts?”

     “I don’t know, people that are hurting want to feel better about themselves so they try to make others feel small.”

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard