learning to coexist

Another day spent in the sandbox, wondering what mysteries would unfold today.

I relearned the lesson for the millionth time that trying to reason with a toddler when the prize involves water is essentially useless, regardless of chilly morning temperatures or impending wet clothes.  It’s either total prevention or succumbing to the mud.  There is no middle ground request that we stay in the sandbox but not touch the water.  Surely that is only fair.

Within five minutes of reaching the sandbox edge, my small one was immersed.  Cold water and sand covered him, eager to find each crevice in little shoes, each fold of little plump wrists.  He was eager to help them find their way in too.  Tactile nirvana.

Meanwhile the running commentary reached epic proportions.  Fog horn steadily blaring, the little boat skittering across, taming the sand amidst the backdrop of a small storyteller’s voice announcing who was driving the boat THIS time and urging his audience to “watch!”.

Sitting in the sunshine, I found myself relishing a moment to sit in the peace of creation happening to two content boys, marveling that someone before me knew the importance of the sandbox.  Six by twelve feet of foresight and pure genius.

Our sandbox was a gift this spring.  Given from two boys, all grown up, their father ready to reclaim the space for pumpkins and squash.  I had intended to build a sandbox, but none of my wildest ideas would have put in something so simple or so large.  For all the learning that happens in the house when two brothers try to coexist, this is surely unparalleled for honing a self-driven desire to make peace.

The sandbox is becoming bigger than just its box though.  Time in the sandbox is growing a learned intuition to *be* together.  To exist cooperatively…to identify when it’s okay to smoosh the others’ mountain, how easy it is to dredge out the river when a foot creates a mudslide, what to do with “he has the green shovel/tractor/riding digger/etc and I want it!”  Somehow, after the first breaking-in period of discovering which toys go in the sand and basic sand etiquette, working and playing together has created a proximity where the state of peace becomes the standard to figure out.  They both want to be there and that sandbox is going to sit there until they figure it out.  And they are.

To my great intrigue, the skill learned doesn’t always get left in the sandbox either.

And at the end of the morning when the wet sand and invigorating play takes it’s toll, the state of peace takes on a new face…a tummy full of green smoothie, the mustache to prove it, and chubby cherub cheeks in the sunshine.

And the boy plays on.

Copyright 2010 Ginger Payton all text and photos.

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6 responses to “learning to coexist

  1. Great pics, great story, great writing, Bee! I love every moment with your blog! LY, Dad

  2. ‘The boys’ seem to get along pretty good together. It will be interesting to see you introduce the complexity of a new friend that likely does not know all the unspoken and undocumented rules of the sandbox.

    It is wonderful that you can have the patience and the energy to clean up all the mud that likely finds its way into the house. Your Grandmother had a saying. “Eventually your feet will drag as much dirt out as you drag in.” While logically it must be true, most will find that their threshold of pain for dirt is much lower than the level required to test her thesis. I’m sure there are days when you wonder.

    Ginger I enjoy your matter-of-fact style of writing. Watching you learn about them learning is fun. Keep it up.

  3. I’m loving it Gweeg! Reading your blog is becoming a welcome part of the daily I-just-got-to-work ritual! 🙂

  4. Your blog sets a delightful tone for the day, it puts my hectic Dallas lifestyle back into perspective and reminds me about what is really important, and what is maybe not so important. Thank you for sharing these moments, I treasure them.

  5. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! Thank you for the feedback and encouragement 🙂 *hugs*

  6. One of Grandma Peterson’s other gems of wisdom is that some kids spend so much time organizing their colors that they don’t have time to color. You’re doing a great job of “letting them color”. It also reiterates the old adage that when adults don’t get along, it was because they didn’t play well with others in the sandbox. Play on, boys! Play on!

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