Just Keep Swinging Kid

While at Kid’s Cove yesterday evening, I witnessed controlled chaos.
Kids screaming.
Parents searching, while screaming.
Laughter abounding.
Ring around the rosie.
Imaginary ninja battles (I may or may not have started this).
Parents chatting it up while joyful kids let loose.
It was a sight to be seen.

One child though, happened to catch my eye.
Well, actually the commotion was heard first, so I swung my head around to see what was happening.

An older girl, trying to help what appeared to be her cousin based on conversation, across the monkey bars. He wasn’t having it. He yelled. He screamed. He kept asking her to stop. Then demanding her to stop. Other kids got involved. The more the crowd of children gathered, the louder the young boy got. He was probably 7 or 8. He was going to do it and the persistence of those around just fed his frustration. I got why they were trying to help. They wanted to see him get across. If they didn’t help, he wasn’t going to make it past the first rung.

You see, this young boy had one arm.

I don’t know the circumstances that led to this. Whether from birth or something else, the young boy had no left arm, and the right arm was developed to the elbow with a partially developed hand. Having both arms and hands, I cannot begin to understand his day to day.

While those kids were well intentioned, they needed to back off.
They needed to stop.
Someone needed to let the child be.
On the way to check up on my child, I walked past the situation taking place and without stopping simply said to the growing group of kids, “Let him play. Just let him play.”

I kept in stride, checking on my youngest who now had 3 new best friends.
None of which she knew the names of.
She was fine.
A few moments later, I glanced back to check on the young boy.
Grabbing the first rung, swinging for a bit, then dropping.
Climbing back up, and repeat.
All the while with a smile on his face.
He saw me looking on, we exchanged smiles, and I continued with my girls.

But, that smile spoke volumes.
He didn’t want to make it all the way across.
It wasn’t about doing what all the other kids could do.
His goal was simple:

I just want to play like me.

Not like his cousins.
Not like the boys & girls who went across before him.
Not like the random mom who walked by and tried to help him across.
He wanted to conquer and play like himself.
His goal wasn’t the other side.
It was the freedom to be himself.
To play and live as only he can.

To the ones who think you have to live up to being the shining PTA parent, Pinterest Hero, Life Of The Party, Top Dog At Work, and the list goes on… Be You. There’s nothing more freeing than living the life God designed for you and being the person He wants you to be. Don’t try to be anything else. It will be disappointing, heart-wrenching, and painful trying to live in someone else’s skin.

To the ones who are trying to help – listen more. Ask your friends, family, and those you are in contact with- what they desire to be? Then, if they want help, guide them. Encourage them. Be a support. But, don’t force someone into something God never intended for them to dream, do or be- simply because it’s what you’ve always known. For them, the biggest conquering they need isn’t to climb all the way across…

It’s to swing on whatever rung God placed within their grasp.
Just keep swinging kid.