Stay this way

We were at the park last week for my friend Joni’s going away gathering, and at some point between gabbing and running after Bo, who does not yet understand his own physical limitations, I lost MB.

This actually happens pretty often in crowded parks, because my attention is divided and MB is quick.

I left the baby with Meg and tried not to panic. This is a playground with gates, and on this day, it was full of people we know. But glances in every direction found no MB.

And then, near the bushes, I found her with a cluster of big kids who were getting ready to play hide and seek, indifferent to the shrieking three year old behind them.  I called out to her, but she didn’t hear me, so I watched as the big kid who was it started counting.

MB hid behind a bush. The round ended and reset, and another round ended and reset, and she was still behind the bush waiting patiently to be found by big kids who did not realize or care that she was playing with them.

Oh, my sweet girl.

At first, I felt the sting of her rejection as though it were me, excited and anxious in pink leggings and my favorite gold shoes, crouching behind a bush and finally realizing no one was looking for me.

It’s the kind of hurt that makes me question whether or not I can manage the next 15 years of her life without heavy medication.

But then, she didn’t even realize she’d been overlooked, nor did she really care, once I’d coaxed her out from behind the bush and pointed her in the direction of more appropriate playmates.

And then I realized: I wish I were more like that.

And: I wish she could stay this way.

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