When Autumn leaves start falling from their branches and the pavement is covered in orange, when the last days of Summer bring out a beautiful Indian Summer, BBQ’s are lit for the last few times and you feel that cold breeze in the morning when you head out to school and work, I realize that our trips to the park will become less frequent and soon we will trade in these playground trips for long forestwalks to go on scavenger hunts for acorns, chestnuts and autumn leaves.
This made me realize that I should probably go to the park with the kids a little bit more often, now that it is still enjoyable with the sun out and the playground area still dry and clean and the pathway is not yet covered in mud and puddles. And that is what I did, because as a city-mum, this is what we can offer them during the week. Yesterday I was working from home and had Joshua to take care of. He was super relaxed and just being the sweetest boy that he is. So around 10.00 o’clock I took him to the park for some fresh air. I needed a coffeebreak anyway. Now let me tell you about ‘our’ park. It is just around the corner from where we live. It’s a small park, with a stretched area for the kids to play, it has a pond with ducks and a tiny little ‘forest’ as my kids call it. Perfect for them to cycle and run. When it’s packed with families I am quite reluctant to go. I love the quiet moment for just me and the kids. Yesterday the playground was completely deserted. All was quiet, it was hot but cloudy and just perfect. We had the park all to ourselves.
Maybe it’s because Autumn is almost here, but I was suddenly feeling a bit nostalgic and emotional. And it dawned on me: I love this park. Back in the days when Juliette was just a little baby, then a toddler and so on we walked so many miles through this park. It started with just walks with the baby carriage, getting some fresh air. Me getting used to the fact I was a mommy. Taking a glance at other mommies, see what they were up to. Feeling a sense of pride, being a new mommy. I couldn’t wait for the baby to grow up and see it run around in the park. Then she actually started to walk and the world was there to explore. Again a sense of pride for me (she can walk!), the ducks were magic to the new inexperienced little pedestrian. Playground heaven. We walked and walked and walked. It wasn’t as clean as it is now and quite often I tried to avoid it, but still: it was just around the corner, it’s perfect to walk through with a stroller. It has had an upgrade since then and looks great now. Juliette loved to climb a lot and cycle on her little tricycle. And now that she is a big girl she is racing her bike around the park, still climbing, but now on the climbing wall and onto the ‘watch tower’. We also used to feed the ducks in the pond. And we still do that sometimes, if I don’t forget to bring any bread…..
And of course we went through the same stages with Joshua. Although Joshua is a bit different. He is not a climber. He LOVES the swing and can sit in that thing for hours. Joshua also loves walking in the ‘forest’ part of the park. I think he calls it a forest because of a large weeping willow hanging over part of the path. For me it is just a park, for them it is heaven. It means freedom.
Five and half years later we are still loving this park. It is magic in every season. It is not the prettiest park in the world and the houses that surround it are just plain ugly, but still this park is home to Juliette and Joshua. Even though in Autumn and Winter we don’t go there as often as in Spring and Summer, when the frosty morning dew covers all the playground equipment, it is very pretty.
This morning Joshua and I went again. The sun was out and we were meeting a friend (we both were actually: me for some mommy-catch up talk and Josh for some toddler playtime) and it was just so relaxed. My friend brought tea and cookies, sunglasses on, kids having a good time, I got that feeling again: I do love this park.
Another thing dawned on me. Through the 5,5 years I have been visiting this park some things NEVER change. This is universal, I’m sure. I guess it is a ‘park-thing’…. Let’s see what you recognize!
- dirty babywipes in the bushes, seriously wondering why people throw them there. My kids ALWAYS want to pick them up;
- Dogpoo hidden in the grass. Completely misplaced as the dogs have their own special fenced part of the park, uuugghhhh disgusting;
- Mommies sitting very relaxed on benches and their kids playing, perhaps almost killing eachother or themselves and me wondering: why won’t you get up….?
- Having a picknick and some random lost childsoul stands next you and watching you eat all that delicious food. Which of course makes you feel bad and you would love to offer some to the very hungry looking kid, but you can’t because A) it is not your kid, B) food allergies?? and C) where are its parents…? Oh and on the other hand I don’t want to give my food away because..well you were not invited to the party. (I am such a bad person aren’t I?) Of course I don’t say this. Awkward situations…
- Ducks in the pond…..and nearly always forgetting to bring some old bread;
- There is only one toddler-swing and like 20 very anxious toddlers. Why????
- Going to the park without the ball and of course THEN they want to play football (why didn’t you bring the ball mommy?);
- The other way around is also great (bringing all the toys and all they want to do is climb or swing);
- Wearing your ‘nice’ sneakers and then you realize it rained the night before;
- Forgetting your sunglasses when the sun shines;
- Forgetting your umbrella when it starts to rain;
- Every single thing is soaking wet in the playground, you tell your kids that is probably better to just visit the ducks, they SWEAR it is fine if their pants get wet….Their pants get wet and they start crying Mommy I have a wet bottoooommmmm….;
- Forgetting to bring snacks and drinks and of course ALL the other mommies brought their entire fridge in tupperware. THAT makes me feel inadequate. BIG time.
I could go on! Please tell me if you know any other typical ‘park-issues’ :-).
Have a great day!