Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teeter totters, trust and tails

If you're under 30, you probably won't know what in the world a teeter totter is!  All these 'safe'
playgrounds don't allow things that could hurt you.  They aren't much fun either.  We had one in every playground and along with it there was an unspoken ethical social rule that you always made sure the person on the opposite seat wasn't let down-no surprises or NO ONE would 
ever play with you again on that toy.  Getting on was easy, both people supporting each other until the up and down rhythm got going.  Giving each other butterflies was legal, jarring them a bit ok, but mostly it was mutual fun, I push off and go up, then you push off and go up.  If this simple board on a pivot was long enough, when you went up - it was a long ways down.  
Three years ago Brita and I were at a Mennonite 8th grade graduation for a nephew.  They don't know about or follow 'worldly' safety protocol.  Their playground was really exceptional and took me back to the freedom and playfulness of childhood.  Brita hadn't experienced this teeter totter thing, so at ages 46ish and 16ish, we, mother and daughter took our turn in line.  It was built on asphalt.  Before this event my height was 5'5.  After this event my spine was the length of a Hobbit's.  We were having a wonderful time I thought-it was the longest board I had ever
teeter tottered on.  For some reason, Brita started doubting that I was trustworthy.  She's my daughter, who I wouldn't hurt for anything.   She started feeling really vulnerable or something when she was the one up in the air, so completely catching me off guard, she jumped off when I was up in the air and let me crash.  It happened so fast that I didn't have time to put my feet down to cushion it, landed smack, bit my tongue and laid there in shock.  She couldn't believe what she had just done-it was a knee jerk reaction to her fear; protecting herself from getting hurt.    She helped me up and brushed me off.  I'm shorter, she's smarter.  

A couple of years later, she redeemed herself by coming to my aid at the ordering line at Wendy's.  She saw me coming from the restroom oblivious to the perfectly round toilet seat cover tucked inside my waistband hanging like a bustle.  She dashed across the dining room to the line, got right up behind me and urgently whispered, 'DON'T MOVE'.  I was freaked, as Brita has a bubble 3 feet around and doesn't volunteer very often to get up close and that personal.  It was so unusual in fact, that I obeyed while she discreetly wadded up the offending tail and threw it away. Only after she took away my shame, did she explain.   



Amber Lowe said...

I love teeter-totters! When I was 3 or 4, my uncle was building a new home and my cousin (who was 2 years older than me)and I found a great teeter-totter on the site. We weren't old enough to see that it was just a piece of plywood resting on a rock to cover up a 6 foot hole. Well, we got on, I went up, she went up, the board slipped and I went in the hole. It was truly the scariest thing. My uncle had to get some special contraption to get me out. Needless to say, I was a little afraid of teeter-totters after that day. :)

KoverB said...

That must have been traumatic Amber! Can picture you so cute and so scared....