Monday, January 9, 2012

Open Letters to the People at the Park

On Saturday, my mom and I took the babies to Pullen Park. It was a gorgeous day, warm even for North Carolina standards. The park, which was recently remodeled, features a train and an antique carousel. Turns out, we weren’t the only ones who thought the park on an unseasonably warm day in January would be a good idea. Despite the crowd, we had a grand time. I did leave, however,leave feeling compelled to write some friendly letters to our fellow park goers.

Dear man in the white SUV who tried to steal my parking spot,

I was there before you. My turn signal was on. Why did you go around me, contemplating a hostile take-over of the spot I had been patiently waiting for? When I inched up on your bumper, did you get the hint? Did you see the two car seats in the back holding my two precious babies, which caused your conscience to magically kick in? Or, was it my angry twin mom stare that ultimately scared you into moving on? Whatever the reason, be glad you moved on. We call my double jogging stroller “The Enforcer” for a reason.

Dear parents waiting in the super-long ticket line,

We are all busy and distracted and tired. I understand, I really do. However, lines move faster when you know what you need and when you have your money ready. Seriously, my transaction took 30 seconds, and I have two kids, bought 15 tickets, and used my credit card. I could have bought the park in the time it took some of you to just get your tickets.

Dear nice man who tried to sell me his extra tickets so I wouldn’t have to wait,

You’re so nice. You saw how tired (and old and frustrated) I looked, didn’t you? I’m sorry. I don’t carry cash. Ever. Do you take Mastercard or Visa? Goldfish crackers or a bag of wipes? Okay, maybe next time.

Dear moms with barefoot kids,

Thank you for making me feel better about forgetting to send proper winter coats to daycare with the babies. At least I made sure they were wearing shoes…

Dear lady with three kids who apparently cut in line while the rest of us actually waited for the train,

I don’t judge--usually. Bottle or breast? Co-sleep or crib? Cry it out or attachment parenting? Soda and TV? Time out or spanking? Vaccinations- on schedule or delayed? Seriously, I don’t care. It’s your choice. But, really. Your children are watching. Is this the lesson you want to teach your children?

Dear friendly folks who took the time to wave back to my super-excited babies,

My babies love to wave. We have practiced it for months. They are good at it. I loved watching them wave excitedly as we rode through the park on the train, and it warmed my heart to see each of you smile and return their wave with the same enthusiasm.

Dear dog owners,

Thank you for bringing your dogs to the park and letting my kids point at you and yell, “ah ah” (their rendition of “woof woof”). I appreciate the way you share your dog, feed your dog, and walk your dog, thereby keeping us from having to buy our kids a dog. We hope to live vicariously through dog lovers like yourself for the next 15 years or so.

Dear patient people in the carousel line who endured my screaming, impatient, wriggly toddlers,

I know it wasn’t easy, especially when they squealed in an enclosed space. I know it wasn’t easy when we gave up and put them down and they ran into your, um, be-hind, like they knew you. Don’t be mad at them. They really are good babies. As the parent, I take total responsibility. I crammed too much excitement and stroller confinement into one day. Hey, it was all in the name of fun.

Dear selfless, grown-up man who gave up his seat on the bobbing pig,

Sure, Drew could have ridden the stationary horse on the outside and would have probably been happy. But, oh my, he enjoyed the bobbing pig so much more. As Drew’s official translator, I say thank you. As Drew’s mom, I say thank you for restoring my faith in humanity.


christina said...

heh sounds... adventurous. :) who can pass up a waving baby?!? :)

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

In case I haven't told you lately, I love your writing style! :)

And I agree how sweet it is to see people wave back to my kiddos.

I also agree with your comment about the lady who broke in line. I like to think that being a parent makes me a better person, because I am reminded to behave the way I would want my children to behave. Guess that doesn't always translate, though, does it?

[On a semi- (sorta-kinda) related note, I reprimanded my first set of kids (not mine!) yesterday...right in front of their mother. ;) They were RUNNING in Sam's and almost pushed a cart into my girls...while my girls were standing quietly in front of the deli case, holding my hands!!! All I said was, "Careful, guys!" (as I rushed my children out of harm's way), and the mom completely ignored me (and them). I don't regret it...I was literally looking after the well-being of my kiddos...but I thought about it later, you hear sometimes about moms getting swinging mad. Ack!] Hahaha!

Jill Jankoski said...

AWESOME POST! I agree with you...on all of it. I think you and your posts are pretty awesome.

Kathy said...

This was great!! I love the pictures too!! So cute!!

Amber said...

That's why I live where I do - people are just nice to each other in the mountains.

Samantha said...


jen@ living a full life said...

What a great park the kids must have loved it. Those special family days are the days that you'll always remember later on, and of course that train is awesome! (former tomboy-sorry!)

Olusola said...

This post needs a super-like button because I love it.

Speaking of buttons, cutting in line really pushes it for me. I bite my tongue and pray for restraint when that happens

RoryBore said...

what a great day!
I love how you started out with the ones that were so disappointing - but didn't leave us hanging and went straight to the heart at the end. nice job!
and really -- who could resist waving at those darlings? seriously - you'd have to be made of stone!

Miss Megan said...

It's a never ending sea of impatient, nasty people out there!!
But then you see the people that wave back at the babies, and the guy who gave up the pig, and yes, your faith in humanity is partially restored!
For the record, I too HATE it when people try and steal my parking spot that I have been patiently waiting for!!! It just burns me!!!
Love the pics!

KERRY said...

This was a great way to capture your day out!!
Oh and just so you know, I always wave at the little ones if they're waving, it's kind and respectful of their innocence.
And I do not like rude people!!
Your babies are so very cute :)

Kristen said...

Love. It. I love that you told the story through letters. What an awesome post. Great letters that pointed out great things. Kristen

strongblonde said...

wow. you do more in ONE day with your kids than i did in an entire WEEK!!!

Heather B said...

Yay for sweet, excited baby waves! Boo on the line cutter. Lack of manners is a huge pet peeve of mine.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I loved how you ended it with a kindness. That was nice! I would have been waving back to them if I'd seen them on the train!

Shell said...

Thank goodness for that last man!

People can be crazy.

Jane said...

As always, I love your honest, refreshing writing! You're phenomenal. @Amber...really? I'm wondering if you read the entire blog. I have two sets of adult children and their families who live and love "in the mountains," but are you really suggesting that their are no rude, insensitive people in the mountains and did you notice that there were people in Pullen Park who are "just nice to each other." Sorry if I sound defensive, but I am 60 years old and not only have my children and grandchildren enjoyed the incomparable charm of Pullen Park and the people there, but even I went there as a child and legend has it that MY grandparents met on that carousel. I'm a Raleigh girl, and I love my city and its people. I just want you to know that there are people here who are "just nice to each other" too!

Jane said...

*there, not "their"...sorry!
Also ? at the end of my rhetorical question.

GJT said...

What a great post, Melissa! I love the letter to the dog people. Our "Daddy" is highly allergic to anything with fur, and my kids are drawn to dogs like moths to a flame. I'm so grateful to *most* of the dog owners we come across who appreciate that i've taught my kids how to ask before touching and how approach a dog that they indulge my kids in lots of petting.

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