Family

The sandpit

My dad gave Grace a sandpit this week.  For the last couple of days she has been really enjoying it.  I on the other hand was not.  Worries surfaced about more grit in the house and on our artificial lawn. The first day she had the sandpit, I sat at a distance, enjoying that she was enjoying it, but also preoccupied with my phone hoping she wouldn’t notice.  

The second day of the sandpit, I sat my chair closer to the pit.  It made Grace feel at ease knowing I was close.  It also was tactical on my account, because it meant that she was less likely to shovel full loads of sand to where I was sitting.  Although I was now close enough to reach the sandpit with my feet, I anchored them solidly on the ground.  I was reluctant to balance my feet on the pit’s edge, as I was concerned that sand would be flicked into my socks and shoes.  

Day three of the sandpit.  I back-peddled and sat at a distance from the sandpit once again.  This plan was soon foiled because Grace called me over to sit closer to her like yesterday.  But something else was calling me somewhere.  Some voice inside said, “Get in the sandpit”.  I shuddered at the thought and ignored it, sitting perched on my chair instead.  Grace continued in her usual fashion, tipping sand out of the pit, close to my feet.  Occasionally she would toss handfuls of sand into the air, not caring that it was close to flinging in her eyes.  I couldn’t avoid the voice inside, whispering, “Get inside the sandpit”.  With a big sigh of reluctance, I chose to answer the inner plea.  Well, I first asked Grace to confirm it was a good idea.  

“Grace, do you want me to go in?”

She shook her head.  That was all the answer I needed to reaffirm I was exactly where I should be, on the chair.  But the voice inside grew louder, “C’mon, get in the sandpit”.  Again, I wanted to make sure it was a good idea from Grace.  I mean she’d already declined the offer before.

And immediately as I asked her whether she wanted me to go into the sandpit, Grace gave me this big gleaming smile of anticipation.  I realised she misunderstood the first offer, thinking I was asking permission to go back in the house.  It was too late now, Grace knew now what I was really asking.  There was no backing out. 

I slowly, yet almost willingly took each sock off, one at a time alongside their accompanying shoe.  I tucked the socks back inside the shoes and placed the shoes further from the sandpit.  If I was going to get sand on me, the least I wanted was sand in my shoes too!  I took my phone out of my pocket and placed it snug in the crevice of the chair, hoping that it too would not be lured into this mess.  

And then the magic began…I got in the sandpit!

It took me back to preschool days.  Gee I hated preschool.  

Yet this time was different.  I stood in the sandpit for a good minute, before deciding I was too awkward towering over Grace.  With a bit more determination, I pulled myself down to the ground, firmly sitting on the sand.  The sand was cool and forgiving between my toes.  It wasn’t so bad.  I thought I felt an ant on my leg.  Swinging my head around all I saw was sand glistening in the sun.  It was actually quite beautiful.  It wasn’t so bad.  I welcomed the play and put a little more energy in than I usually do.  Grace loved it.  It wasn’t so bad.  In fact, it was good.  I let myself be so immersed in building sandcastles that I even ran back inside, with a little sand still on my feet, to grab some more containers to build more and more.  Coming back to the pit, the artificial grass seemed even more comfortable after the microdermabrasion of the sand.

Grace almost fell asleep afterwards eating her lunch, she was so content.  Through my morning in the sand, I gave a nod to fresh chances, new perspectives and responding to that voice.  I sit on the couch writing this and I think I might just be a little more content myself.

Elizabeth is a Mum to Grace, step-mum to Will, wife to Ricky. She is very changeable. Sometimes she'll identify herself as a social worker, other times as a writer or even as a Christian. She loves her town of Dubbo, New South Wales. Elizabeth studied a Bachelor of Social Work at Charles Sturt University.

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