. . . Lie down on the ground and throw a fit!
At least that was what Sadie did at Safeco the other night. But, I'll tell you the story, and you will understand:
For Jason's birthday last week, we went to see the Seattle Mariners play the San Francisco Giants at Safeco Field. My favorite player, Randy Winn, was back in town with the Giants. Jason bought tickets in the first row of the outfield seats, so that I could watch my boy in right field. These were sweet seats, and Randy Winn was as beautiful as ever.
So, at Safeco there is a kids' play area with all the things that would delight the heart of a child with even less monkey in her than mine has. Sadie zeroed in on that play area immediately, and asked to go inside forthwith. I wanted to get to our seats and gaze upon Randy for the first few innings, so I promised her that I'd bring her back there later.
We ate hot dogs and garlic fries and drank tons of pop. Sadie was having a good time, watching the game, coloring in her coloring book, yelling out to Randy Winn; but she never forgot the play area. At the beginning of the eighth inning, she asked if it was time yet to go to the kids' area. I agreed that it was time indeed, and I complimented her on her patience. So, we went to the play area just as a new session was going in. We got our passes for the following session that would start in 20 minutes. Sadie was cool with that.
To pass the time, we lurked about in the Mariners store, where Sadie tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade me to purchase a large foam finger that declared that the M's are #1. I cannot bring myself to advertise a sentiment so patently false. I mean, I love my Mariners, but come on! I tried to convince her that she needed a Mariners sweatshirt, but she didn't bite. So, 20 minutes passed on by, and it was time at last to enter through those pearly gates of Safeco fun -- the longed-for kids' play area.
We went up with our pass to the man at the entrance, and he dropped the bomb upon us: The play area had had to close early, since a little boy had peed inside one of the play tunnels. They would not re-open that night, because the game was so near its end. I looked down and saw Sadie's face -- wide-eyed with incredulity -- crumple in disappointment. When the bad news had sufficiently sunk in, she promptly took the course of action she felt was called for and threw herself on the ground, yelling and crying. It was a miserable moment, indeed.
I scooped her up off of the ground and carried her broken, sobbing form back to her daddy. He cuddled her in his arms as she spilled the whole sordid tale. Jason reacted promptly in his daddish way, declaring that he'd go find that kid and give him a real reason to wet his pants. He was so sad for her, and I was too. It's really, really tough to see your kid play by the rules and then get screwed over. But that's just one of the harder lessons of life, isn't it?
If only working hard and playing by the rules were the guarantors of the good life! The fact that they aren't is probably one of the reasons that so many people find it hard to finish the race. I've spoken with people who thought that, once they surrendered their hearts in faith to Christ, they would lose the struggles and lose the disappointment and lose the pain. I've been one of those people myself, sometimes. It's like: Lord, why is it still so hard? And yet, He never promised us a life without heartaches and betrayals and sorrows; He simply, beautifully, reassuringly promised us a life in which we would no longer have to face those trials alone.
So, Sadie's daddy dried her tears, snuggled her up in his arms, and bought her some cotton candy. He explained that that situation with the play area was a bummer and completely unfair, but sometimes life is like that. Sometimes locked cars get broken into. Sometimes the worse man gets the promotion. Sometimes the teacher doesn't stop the other kid from taking your toy. Sometimes a boy pees in a play area tunnel, right before it's your turn to play. But, that's okay in the end, and you'll be just fine, Baby Girl, because you are never alone. Daddy will always be here to dry your tears and comfort you.
I also promised that, on our next trip to Safeco, I'd take her to the play area during the first few innings.
By the way, the Mariners won that night. And Randy Winn hit a home run for the Giants. So, it was the best of both worlds.