1. Once kids reach about the age of 8, parents evidently feel that they no longer need any sort of supervision and let them wander the neighborhood alone all evening long.
2. There isn't much that is productive for kids ages 8-15 to do on a playground.
3. If you are the first to fall off of the monkey bars, you are a "punk-ass white boy".
4. If the white lady glares at you when you say racist comments, you will, instead of understanding the intent of the glare, change your statement to: "punk-ass mexican".
5. That pre-teen girls come to the playground to flirt with pre-teen boys.
6. That it makes my stomach hurt to have to go to the playground when it is filled with the big kids.
7. That practicing swear words while climibing the jungle gym makes you seem really tough to all of your friends.
8. That I will, at some point, want to punch somebody's kid in the head. That kid won't be mine. I won't know whose kid it is, because I have never seen the parents though I have seen the kid many, many times.
9. That the big kids need their parents more than ever. That just when you think they are old enough to make good decisions, the rules of the game start changing and they need you to guide them through this new, rough territory. That just because they might know enough not to run in front of a car, big kids can run in front of a lot of words and ideas and encounters that are just as dangerous. That continued hand-holding will make crossing those "streets" easier and safer, too.
10. That I want to relish this moment in time, when I am still the center of my Nugget's world and I am still fun and interesting and smart to her. That all of the values we teach her now will be the building blocks of her character, so they need to be made with solid material. That it is never to early to teach my child compassion and love and tolerance and peace because, somewhere out there, another family is teaching their kids the opposite and she will need all of the skills she can get to combat those things.