Tire Swing Conversations

“Robin, this time we want to spin really realllly realllllly fast!” The boy I babysit for was on the tire swing with two little boys. They were having fun, I was getting dizzy. The other boy’s mom interjected. “I can push you for a minute. I think Robin needs a break.” I thought the idea was genius, Ford looked at her like she had four eyes. “No, Robin is the best pusher. C’mon Robin.” How can you say no to a four year old who thinks a tire swing is a rocket ship? Away I pushed. 

The mom: Boys have so much energy. I mean my niece was never as active as my son.

Me: Yea, I used to teach and the boys in my class were always so wild. It’s fine though. They’re kids.

The mom: Yea, I don’t mind it. And ya know now a days they have boys on medicine because they say they’re too rowdy in class

Me: Yea and that makes me sad. We’re smarter than that. We have to be. Some people absolutely need it, but the others are just being-

The mom: Themselves! When I was growing up they never tried to force boys to be on medicine. Now they’re trying to make them act like the girls in school and I tell you they just learn differently

Me: Yea, there’s a lot of literature out there about how boys learn and how girls learn and if it’s the same. It’s very interesting. Either way, drugs are not the solution

The mom: You’re right and I know you know because you’re a teacher. You still are?

Me: No I’m doing communications

The mom: Oh no. Don’t tell me you’re going into publishing

Me: Well, no

The mom: Good because then I’d spend the rest of the day talking you out if it

Me: What do you do?

The mom: I’m a publisher. And I write and edit

Me: Okay well yea I’m not into publishing, but I think that’s great. Who do you write for?

The mom: Oh, everyone. The Washington Post, magazines, newspapers and now that I live in New York I write about art because there’s a lot of art

Me: Okay yea, well I hope to do CSR things

The mom: That’s great. You’re at the right school for it, but let me tell you. If you ever get tired of New York then go to D.C. because that’s the place to be for foundations and giving and non-profits

Me: Well I’m not necessarily going to be working for a non-profit…

The mom: Well I’ll tell you something else. And I know you didn’t come to the playground to hear all this, but since you’re here I thought I’d share

Okay Ford, enough. Go play tag or something. Robin’s feeling nauseous.  


Sick. I’m dizzy. Y’all go run around before we have to leave  

Me: Sorry, we do this all the time

The mom: Oh you’re fine. I was just saying think about D.C. if you ever want a break from New York. But I’ll tell you, nonprofits these days don’t feel like non-profits. I remember when they operated out of people’s kitchens now they have galas bigger than award shows. It’s wild

Me: Yea, tell me about it. And I think editing is awesome for the record

The mom: Well, it’s dying. Your career is on the rise, mine is declining

Me: Well, it’s really just changing. Everything is going digital, but we need editors

The mom: I like you

Me: (laughs) No really, I do think that. Editors are very necessary. The unfiltered information is great, but editors serve a purpose and the further we get away from them the quicker we’ll realize the role they played. The system worked for a reason and we just need the industry to evolve, but not to abandon all the principles ya know?

The mom: Yea, I think things will go back eventually

I call Ford’s name and he looks at me and then runs away 

Me: I wasn’t saying hi. That meant come

The mom: Boys

We hear a babysitter tell two kids they will get ice cream on the way home and the kids run up

Me: Okay that also bothers me. Is it me or are kids always eating ice cream? It drives me crazy that they think ice cream is a daily thing

The mom:  I know and it makes the boys even busier than they are

Me: Exactly. Ford, come now

She keeps calling Andrew, but he doesn’t come

The mom: Maybe the ice cream thing isn’t so bad if it works

Me: Good luck and thanks for the advice

The mom: Sure, you’ll probably never see me again, but think about what I said. Little boys I’m learning, but young women I get. I was one


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