We have this weekly flyer in our town of 12,000 people that goes around to all the businesses detailing the special events or activities available to the locals over the weekend. Most of the time I read it and think the events sound fun, but not very kid-friendly. And when it is a kid-geared activity, its often for much older children. Children who will not eat the popsicle sticks and glue (hopefully), but who will instead craft their very own handmade sailboat. Not for 19-month old Reagan. If we attended those craft events, we’d come home with a child whose hands had been permanently glued to her hair, thereby necessitating an emergency haircut. Needless to say, I steer clear of such happenings. I can count on no hands how many activities I have actually attended without Hubby. But this past Friday, something caught my eye. Praise in the Park.
Hubby generally goes to his grandparents’ farm on Saturday afternoon, so I was looking for an activity that would allow Reagan and I to spend some quality time together, but one which would also keep me from reaching the end of my patience. Praise in the Park sounded like the perfect event for my daughter and I. I love praise. She loves the park. Someone was thinking. Someone out there, you are a genius.
Reagan took an afternoon nap while I packed up a backpack and the stroller. When she woke up, we set out with our blanket in tow. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the park was not overrun with hundreds of unattended children. Reagan was able to wander around the wooden castle to her heart’s content as her Mommy followed diligently behind. I listened happily to the praise music emitting from the stage behind us as she explored. Soon Reagan chose to swing, so I pushed her for a long time as I watched the various artists make beautiful music. I saw people raising their hands and singing along. I saw little children dancing and twirling to the music. I saw young and old coming together - joined by praise songs.
After about an hour of playing in the park, Reagan and I spread out our blanket and I brought out the box of Teddy Grahams. For nearly 20 minutes (a new record) she sat there and ate her snacks and we listened to the music. Later she ran around in the grass for a while - there was plenty of room. Someone walked by with a dog and she barked at it - but we were outside so no one was disturbed. At one point she thought it would be fun to test out the Mariah Carey scream again, and though it was loud, it was okay - because we were at the park.
It was so refreshing to have an event that was purposeful, relaxing, fun. Yes, it was priceless. Literally. We could come and go as we pleased. Which is just what we did. Such a simple idea, but such a fantastic execution. It was a joy to be there. We both had a really wonderful time. The weather was absolutely perfect. And the Son was shining.