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Today has been dubbed by Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids, Take Your Children to the Park and Leave them There day. I generally don’t go to the park near my house because it’s not really…near my house, but today I woke early determined to participate in this day somehow.
I suppose it might have been better if I had spoke to some other parents near me. Truth is that I work a lot and the Boy doesn’t know the other kids very well. So I decided we’d ride to the park and I’d leave him at the playground, while I rode the bike trails.
When I got to the park, I was a little nervous. Not because I was afraid the Boy would come to any peril in my absence but because there were adults hovering over kids like I had never noticed before. Just as I was thinking I’d make him ride trails with me, another kid his age showed up and I didn’t exist anymore. I gave him instructions for responding to questions for where his mother was (I told him to say he was fine and that his mom was in the park, instead he said “Today is take your kid to the park and leave them there day! ” :-/) and headed off to the bike trail.
The sun was bright, the morning air was refreshing and the creek the bike trail followed was absolutely beautiful. I could smell jasmine, and grass and hear the little bit of water make its way over and through the rocks. And I was slightly in awe of what I had lived relatively close to for almost a year, and never bothered to see (I had also been complaining that the park wasn’t walking distance…which it really isn’t from our house, so the bikes helped).
When I returned to the playground about 30 minutes later, the kids were engrossed in play. I asked the Boy if he wanted to ride the trails with me, he asked his new friend, I introduced myself to the friend’s mother (who asked about “eave your kid at the park day,” which I happily explained) then we all rode off on the nature reserve bike trail together.
It was so much fun! The other mom and I had lots in common, and the kids were getting on like old friends. There was a set of metal slides and we hug out there, while the kids went down the tallest one over and over.
Then it was time for us to go our separate ways. The other mom and I exchanged numbers because…well, our kids hat hit it off (and so had we kinda) and expressed some interest in hanging out again. The whole thing was all in keeping with why I was there in the first place: For the Boy and I to go out, be active and make new friends.
We’ll definitely be doing that more often.