As the weather improves I have been frequenting the playground with my youngest daughter and every time I am there I see parents chatting away on their phones as their kids play and I think to myself, “I wish there was a No Cellphone sign here.” One of those signs hanging on the fence with a picture of a cell phone on it and a big black X through it. Perhaps just a gentle reminder to all of us to hang up and play, run around, be silly.
It seems to me that cellphones have taken over our lives! We can’t seem to be without one for five minutes and it really is so ridiculous. I know it is hard to believe but I survived a good portion of my life without a cell phone and whats-more my parents never had a cell phone and they not only survived but they managed to raise twelve fairly normal kids! How did they do that?
Believe me, I am not lecturing, I am just as bad as the next person. If I am in my car (or on the playground) and suddenly realize I don’t have my cell phone my heart rate skyrockets. Oh no! What if someone is trying to reach me and I’m not available?! What if there’s an emergency? What if my son stubs his toe at school or my oldest forgot her homework, or my friend calls to tell me about some juicy gossip from the book club that I missed? Breathe, breathe. How far away am I ? Should I go back and get it?
Okay, seriously, how many true emergencies happen to you in one day? Or one week? Unless you’re a brain surgeon or the CEO of Google do you really need to be available at all times to everybody?
I sort of miss the days of going to the playground B.C. (before cell phones) because back then, any news, any “emergency”, any gossip would just need to wait. I simply wasn’t available. I was busy. At the playground. With my kids.
You said, “Let’s go to the playground today.
We’ll spend some time together and have fun while we play.”
“Yippee!” I yelled, “I know just what we’ll do!”
And I ran to get my sweatshirt and find my left shoe.
First, we’ll swing high on the swings and go down the big slide,
then hang down from the bars and play “you search while I hide.”
“Hello? Where are you?” You will say with a smile,
(Knowing exactly where I am, all of the while).
Then we’ll look up at the clouds and see funny things,
like a rabbit with pajamas and a bear that can sing.
We’ll dig holes in the sandbox and pour sand in the trucks,
then walk down to the pond and feed bread to the ducks.
But when we got to the park I knew it wasn’t to be,
because the first thing you did… was sit under the tree.
“Go and play.” You said, “I’ll just make one quick call.
It won’t take but a moment, really, no time at all.”
So, I tried a few cartwheels and a front forward roll
went to the sandbox and dug a huge hole.
I called, “Look at this!” to you as you sat,
but you just turned away, caught up in your chat.
You sat over there yakking away on your phone
leaving me to play, by myself… all-alone.
So, I glanced up to the sky but saw nothing there,
no silly cloud animals, just blank, empty air.
I climbed the tall climber and tried out a new trick,
then I sat on the swing and gave a few little kicks.
And after a while you yelled, “Com’on! Time to go!”
and I walked to the car; my head down, my feet slow.
And as you buckled me in, you said, “Oh, what a great day!
I’m so glad that we came to the playground to play.
Wasn’t it fun, but, boy, it went by real fast,
I wish I could find a way to make these special days last…”
Anne Sawan 2013