A Day in the Park

A day in the Park

As soon as we crossed the parking lot, our single-file line of first graders scattered. Many went to the swings to beat yesterday’s record of who flew the highest when they jumped off. Several went to the slides, to play Four-Square and hopscotch. But me, I joined the few who went to the parallel bars. Yes, that day I would start with the bars. My left hand clasps around the bar to my left, my right hand clasps the bar to my rightâÂ?¦bend the legs, push, tuck, flipâÂ?¦Yes I did it!! I flipped!!! Ok. I had finally done it, but could I flip back the other way? My arms twisted as a result of the first successful flip, I now attempted a reverse. The goal? To end up where I had originally started. ; OK; bend at the knees, push, arch the back, flipâÂ?¦I did it!!! I had now successfully mastered the art of flipping. Thank you, where’s my medal please?! I had worked so hard, practiced everyday since the beginning of school, and it paid off. I did it!

Ok well, I am done with this; time to move on. What else is there to do? Well, Lisa, Rebecca, and Travis are playing hopscotchâÂ?¦nah, too boring. Hmmm, Meredith and Kate and some others are playing Four-SquareâÂ?¦no I played that most of yesterday. I kind of want to swing but there aren’t any tire swings. Well, I could go to the bench swings, but then I’d have to jump off. I can’t, too scary. I could break my leg or something. There is nothing else to do though, we aren’t allowed to go on the tennis courts, and I can’t play kickball by myself, and the slides are for babies. OK, if I can flip, I can jump. I will do it.

Marching over to the swings, my self-confidence wearing off the closer I get. Waiting in line, I stare at the gigantic swing set, and my fellow classmates who are leaping as high as the birds off the swings. They make it look so easy. My turn; I swallow, my stomach in knots. I take my seat and begin to push myself backward with my legs/ going higher and higher, pumping my legs, going faster and faster, pumping my legs. What a wonderful feeling; the breeze created by my speed; the weird sensation in my stomach when the swing briefly pauses in midair before gravity takes hold, and pulls me backwards and then up again. Forward, up, pause, down, up, pause, forwardâÂ?¦on and on it continues. I love the swings. Wait is that my name? Looking down at the small people on the ground, I see some of my friends yelling at me to jump, reminding me of the line. But I am so high up. I can’t do it; I’m too cared. NO I can’t, I can’t; I don’t want to. I stop pumping my legs, and the momentum carrying the swing in its endless cycle slowly dies. My feet hit the ground, and I stop myself. I stand up, and walk away.

I go to the picnic table to eat my snack. I bite into my celery sticks with peanut butter, and watch the other kids jumping off the swings. It looked like so much fun. I finish my snack and juice box. I decide to try again. I really think I can do it this time. But once again, my self-confidence faded the closer I got to the swings. Some of the kids stared at me when I got back in line. They don’t think I can do it! They are probably right. Just as I am ready to get out of line and walk away defeated, my turn comes up. OK, to swing or not to swing that is the question. Swing. Once again, I sit on the black, plastic seat that will carry me to the sky. I push with my legs until my feet can no longer touch the ground, then I swing them back and forth, getting as high as I possibly can. What an exhilarating feeling; peaceful. Then, just as before, I hear my name called, and it is now the time of truth. I had to do it. I had to prove that I could do it. The pit in my stomach grows larger and larger and my palms begin to sweat, and my heart starts to pound. Then I remember the book my mom read me, and I started chanting, “I think I can I think I can I think I can.”

I close my eyes andâÂ?¦I am on the ground. I open my eyes slowly. I turn around and see my swing carrying someone else into the heavens, and I realize what happened. I did it! Yes I did it!! I can’t believe I did it; it was so fun. I want to do it again. I can’t wait to tell my parents. They’ll be so proud of me. I excitedly run back to the line and begin to wait no so patiently for my turn, when I hear the saddest sound a first grader can hear. The sound of the teacher’s whistle ending recess. I look at the swing set one more time, it’s metal frame shining in the sun. With a heavy heart I turn around and walk towards the edge of the park to line up. Back in the single-file line I follow the teacher and my fellow classmates into the brick school building and plop tragically into my seat. No amount of Super Kids worksheets can take my mind off the fun I was missing. I want to go back to the swings, but will have to wait. Wait until tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow, I will start with the swings.

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