Today, the kids and I borrowed a key, and went on a short walk to a park. We were forewarned that the park was “just a docking area” and that there was no playground equipment but I was undeterred.
Sure enough, the park appeared as advertised. It was a hard-scrabble parking lot, completely lacking in shade and charm. The area was secured by a chain-link fence with four imposing padlocks.
My older kids, with great disappointment and drama, showed deep concern. They were not convinced that we weren’t trespassing.
I opened the gate to the park. Hearing our approach, a few iguanas ran across a field to some mangroves.
The park area appeared to be completely barren except for six Adirondack chairs, and a rundown picnic table.
We sat in the chairs and ate a snack. It was hot. My kids complained. I suggested that after our snack we could have gym class and they could run laps around the park. They didn’t think that was very funny.
So, I suggested that they imagine themselves in the coolest, best park ever, wearing warm clothing, maybe a down-filled jacket and some mitts. Then I asked them to look at the palm trees blowing in the wind and consider where they would rather be.
“Here,” Betty said. And, realizing that mom was serious and we weren’t going anywhere something magical happened.
My children approached the shallow banks of the bay. Soon, a world of jelly fish, and small fish absorbed their attention. They were captivated.
It was a world transformed – so interesting that we were at the park for three hours, cracking and eating coconuts, chasing iguanas, herding jellyfish and floating coconut husks like boats.
It was difficult to get them to leave. That parking lot on the bay turned out to be the coolest place to play ever. My kids can’t wait to go again. It was perfect.