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"I can keep trying"

May 2022.   There's a specific type of heartbreak in parenthood—a painful joy—that comes from watching someone you love become more of a human right in front of you. I had this experience recently when I took my energetic toddler to the playground and watched him conquer his fears. We arrived at the playground on the heels of a rainstorm. Nobody had ventured back out yet to play, so he had the equipment all to himself. His heart's desire was immediate and clear: to go down the covered two-story twisty slide on the set of equipment designated for the "big kids." Slides of this height and style aren't new to him. But what upped the level of difficulty in this case was the path to the coveted slide. Whereas most playground setups have a linear climbing route to the tall slide, this one offered a tricky interruption—an open, circular rope ladder that created a pit between two platforms, wide enough that even kids with longer legs probably wouldn't want to jump acr

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