Family Outing

From the collection published in 2015, Spring Cleaning.

Family Outing

Mom brought the boys to the park
she read
sitting at the picnic table
with the attached benches.
The boys ran around
shouting
then
Boredom set in and
Mom please said one boy
and she snapped the book shut
extracted herself from the benches-table
Headed for the car
but
sat down at another table.
Told them to
Go play.
But it isn’t going to last
as long as she would like
The boys are pushing each other
at the water fountain.
Water fight, said one.
Ow, said the other. Tears.
The book snaps shut. Again.

Happy family, artist trading card, 2013.

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9 thoughts on “Family Outing

  1. Children learn very early how to command their parents’ attention. I remember my younger brother and I doing similar things to my mother. Look at us! (K)

  2. Yes, I remember I wrote this at a local park and did several poems that day on kids and parents. And reflected on how things are the same in some ways as for when I was young. And I also thought I was glad I was not any of the moms…I’m not sorry to have left this phase behind!

  3. This reminds me of an encounter I had last summer at a local play park. My kids are all old enough to play independently – not that I was much of a hoverer anyway – so I sat in the shade with a book and read. Another mother sidled up to me and sneeringly commented that it must be so nice to just be able to sit and do nothing. Despite her passive-aggressive tone, I assured her the time would come when she wouldn’t have to assist her little guy on the equipment to which she retorted that she would always “be available” for her child. Apparently sitting five steps from your kids and reading a book makes one an unavailable parent. Who knew?

  4. Laura, you are just plain bad and it’s about time someone told you. NOT!!! Wow! What an encounter! I’m surprised you didn’t knock her down and stomp on her. I hate when 1. mothers criticize other mothers like this and 2. that a person could be that — I don’t know the word, over- protective and self-protective at the same time. Ugh.

  5. I had to be polite as a role model for the children but internally I had loads of rage dialogue wishing it could tumble out. I’ve never been a helicopter parent and am perhaps lighter on the leash than many parents because I began parenthood in a rural setting. Nothing about that aspect of my parenting requires harsh judgment though. Now, if she wanted to critique my morning yelling (shoes! Coats! Bags!) that would be a different story.

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