In the name of love (or pride, or a desire to not lose, or any other number of things), people can do some pretty stupid stuff.
Case in point: Yesterday, my family and I were spending some quality time at Martinak State Park, a lovely wooded area resting on the Choptank River, where Rashieme and I plan on getting married this summer. This quiet state park features trees and shade and sunshine and trails and, to my daughter's delight, several playgrounds. We were checking out each one as we had spent the day with Shieme's mom and were now just a few hours away from a meeting with a local restaurant owner, whose establishment we were checking out as a possible venue for a reception location. Knowing we were having this meeting, I had opted to wear a sundress and cloth slip-on flats.
Being that I was dressed up, I opted out of Rashieme and Kaliah's game of tag at the first playground, which began with hysterical laughter and blissful joy and then eventually ended in tears because, much like her mommy, Kaliah does not like to lose. We ventured on to the second playground which featured a tall spiral slide that looked promising, but unfortunately was not all that slippery, and Kaliah slid down with a dismal look on her face that made it clear that she'd rather be practicing fractions. So off we went to the third location, where we discovered a completely in-tact piece of playground equipment that featured several different entrances/exits: slides, monkey-bar style extensions, a rock climbing wall, etc.
Kaliah immediately came up with the idea of an obstacle course. She explained that we would have to each take a turn using each of the "exits" and whoever could successful exit all avenues of the equipment the fastest would be declared the winner. I certainly wasn't dressed for it, but what can I say? One should never underestimate the power of stupid. I'd like to claim that I did it out of my love for my child and desire to bond with her and spend quality time making memories.
But the truth is, I probably just wanted to win.
For those of you who don't know me, I am stupid competitive.
So her daddy yelled go, and off we went. On the very first small slide, I struggled to keep my skirt covering everything it should cover, then scrambled back to the steps of the main entrance to navigate the next exit. Despite my shaky start, Kaliah and I were neck and neck. My long legs worked to my advantage, as did my height, when it came to jumping from certain points instead of climbing down.
We were maybe two minutes in, both running out of breath, both laughing and scampering about, and I was down to one remaining obstacle. But first I had to re-enter the equipment. Seeing that my daughter was already on the main entrance, (the steps), and deciding to go around her and cut in front of her, I opted to climb a short slide instead of race around, putting myself behind her. As I jumped on the slide and began striding upwards, I immediately realized the error of my ways, as my cloth shoes had absolutely no traction and I began slipping back down, like a surfer skimming a wave. I tried to stop the momentum, but somehow my legs got tangled up and I went sailing over backwards, falling with a resounding thud, as I crashed down on my legs, back, and shoulder, head clunking down into the stupid wood shavings that always line these kinds of play ground.
"Alright, you're done," Daddy the referee announced, shaking his head as he strode over to help me up. Meanwhile Kaliah was shrieking in amazement and I was laughing so hard I was almost crying. Rashieme pulled me to my feet, and both of them went to work brushing the wood chips from my sweater, dress, and hair.
"We've got a meeting in an hour. 'What happened to her?' 'Playground accident?'" Rashieme demanded, rolling his eyes.
"But I was doing so good," I protested. "I think I was winning."
Clearly, I wasn't. Not after the Cloth-Shoe-Sliding-Board-Fall.
Lesson Learned: When you're trying to beat the pants off your kid at some outdoor activity, wear sneakers.
And maybe a helmet.
And something other than a dress with granny panties underneath.
For the record, Rashieme and Kaliah went next. With the aid of sneakers and pants (as opposed to a skirt), Rashieme beat her by a landslide. He didn't even need the helmet.