Seeing light through others’ eyes

It’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that our country is in a state of unrest. It saddens me to see all the racial hatred that exists, from the recent police brutality situations to the most recent horrible tragedy in Charleston. While we seem to take several steps forward with progress toward the LGBTQ community, we can’t help but to beckon the days of segregation with acts like those of the Charleston shooter, the policy in McKinney, Texas, and other situations. While I never have all the facts, and in some cases I think there is probably more than what the media portrays, I just wish people could be people no matter their skin color or sexual orientation, and we could look past it. Just as I can’t help but be a white female, African-Americans and homosexuals are the same way. They are my friends and no different than any of my white, heterosexual friends. I just don’t understand why we can’t live in harmony.

But today’s blog isn’t about the injustice of the world, as much as it is the ability I had to capture some innocence and forget about all the evil that exists. In my own backyard, I felt something special today. I saw life through my child’s eyes, and it was beautiful and bright.

For years we’ve had a PlayNation playset sitting under our work shed in the back yard. We dismantled it from a friend years ago and were waiting until our son was old enough to enjoy it. Our family friend gave it to us for a deal if we took it down from his back yard (he bought a house with a set that he didn’t want). So lo and behold, my husband and I jumped on the $3500 set for a fraction of the cost and some old fashioned elbow grease.

Fast-forward a few years later and we knew with our son’s 4th birthday around the corner, this would be a perfect birthday gift. It so happened to be Father’s Day weekend and my husband and I thought how nice it would be to have his brothers over for some extra muscle and his father to help guide the swing-set rebuild. See, there were no instructions or even a photo to go off of, so reverse-engineering was crucial. All five Clark men ascended to the yard to have some bonding time and build our boy a playground of his own.

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I peaked outside a few times to capture the progress on camera and could tell boys were enjoying themselves. It’s not everyday you can get these guys together and out at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to start building something they will never use. So I cannot say how much I appreciated them. I gave them all some sandwiches and lots of hugs and thank yous, but the real joy came when Cohen saw it for the first time.

I had grand ideas of keeping it under a tarp and displaying once his birthday rolled around, but that’s 30 days from now and not practical. So we gave it to him today, allowing the builders to also reap the benefit. To see Cohen’s eyes light up, and his voice shriek with excitement as he went down the slide was worth every penny.

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Afterward we had a big swim party with the rest of the Clark men and their wives and kids and such. For a few hours it was just a nice day of relaxing and enjoying family. I didn’t have to think of the unjust world outside my yard’s perimeter. I didn’t have to worry about protecting my child or trying to affect change. I got to see things through his chlorine-filled eyes, and I loved it. I know one day he’ll know the violence that exists, the bullying, the hatred, the struggle that our world faces everyday. But today, he was surrounded by love, positive reinforcement, gratitude and joy.

As we swung together after everyone left, I couldn’t help but feel I’d achieved the American Dream. Some may say it’s dead, but I think I got it. I try hard to not just depend on God in times of need, but rather, always be gracious for what I’ve been given. Today, I must have said thanks a million times. For a beautiful home, family, job I love, friends and health, I don’t think things could be any better.

Now if we can just get everyone else in the world under my same spell, maybe we’ll see some brighter days.

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