It just happens to be my favorite day today. Naturally, that leads to the question of...why?I'll get to see my family again! We all rendezvous in my favorite childhood park for my birthday.Yes, I have outgrown such things, but the park and the nostalgia it brings always wins me over.Nostalgia obtains more victories over me than I'm comfortable to admit. I could go explore new places, but I find it is about the memories you share and whom you choose to share them with.
The ENTIRE family will be showing up this time. Typically only Mom and Dad show up, but I overheard that Ashlye (my younger sister)is bringing her kids, and this will be the first time I'll be seeing them. They are a set of twins who are just the right age to enjoy a good park.
I've set everything up to be perfect, it was a LOT of work, after all, cleaning the park was a daunting task, especially for a party of 1 (me).Not only was I picking up the standard amount of trash, but I also wiped it all down! In all three major sections no less. The three sections included: the basketball courts, the playground, and the swing sets (my personal favorite).
Children are known to put things in their mouths, huh?? Gross! The things you do for family, I'd never could have conceived the amount of gum I found. I got on my hands and knees to check and double-check and scrape off every single piece of gum in the park (a little difficult, it was getting dark out but I'd give myself a gold star!). Next task, now, how do I organize the lost and found...? Oh, duh! By size! Start off with the tennis balls, add in some frisbees and then end with a pile of (untangled) jump ropes. That will be the easiest for the children to understand(most of them haven't learned the alphabet yet).
It has been an extremely uneventful morning filled with joggers and dog walkers. The doggies are the best part. I say 'Hi' to every single one of them. I don't think the owners appreciate that, as they become frustrated when the adorable dogs chat with me for too long. Not my fault the dogs wanna spend more time getting to know me. Sadly, they gotta move on, they do have lives to live.
My family came to the park to see me around lunchtime, they spent the morning at the cemetery (I skip that part, too sad). I have to give my family props, they know how to spend a day at the park. They packed a picnic for lunch (classic move, I remember our family picnics back in the day), then Ashlye arrived. All of them set up the picnic blanket upon the grass.There they were, the twins. My God, they are perfect.I didn't think I would love my nephews this much! So cute, wearing mini overalls with a Mickey Mouse shirt underneath (different colors, of course, they are twins, after all, you gotta be able to tell them apart somehow to avoid sparking one of the twins' peanut allergy).
My parents understand that our families' usual picnic food, pb & j's, is going to have to be substituted for the way lamer ham and cheese sandwich (allergies, remember?). No one verbally objects to the change in the lunch menu, but their faces say it all. Oh, and after lunch, I got some playtime with the twins. After a couple of hours,I wore them down to the point that mama bear Ashlye had to put them down for a nap. She'd put them in the car and would continue to drive around the neighborhood, effectively leaving Mom, Dad, and I together to catch up. Of course, there is not much to catch up on my end...my situation hasn't changed in years, so we sat and listened to the joyful children playing in the distance.
Mom finally broke the silence, she leaned in towards Dad, and in a hushed tone said,"Seeing Ashlye with children makes me happy, but...but not being able to see Sam or her potential children makes me sad", she buried herself into Dad's shoulder, "They both would have made great parents, I miss her too." They sat therefor a very long time, Mom pulled back and then sat up straight, "Hon, have you noticed how clean this park is?" Dad peered around, taking in what Mom just said, "Yeah, the city must be putting more money into the Parks Department. " Dad grabs Mom's hand, in a tranquil voice, "Let's take a stroll". Dad's words were met with a gleeful smile by the both of us. The energy through out the park was electric, the smiles of people spread. We breathed in their happiness and continued down the path.
According to Mom's fancy new watch, we walked about a mile in peace, until we encountered a couple of people in business attire standing in the park. They looked out of place, to say the least. We kinda unanimously decided to check in on them. "Hello, can we ask you some questions about your experience and our services with this park?" We indulged the business people with our time, "Sure." The tallest of the businessmen asked, "Where would you rank this particular park compared to others in our community?" Dad states, "This is the best one by far, it is always clean and organized by your people, so thank you," The shorter of the two replied, "Well actually it is all you guys, admittedly we haven't put in any work into this park, we assumed it was the community, especially since there is a church not too far off." Mom chimed in, "I'm unaware of any church activity regarding this park. I'll ask our pastor if he has set up anything to help," Surprised, the tall man adds, "Alright thanks, here is my card."
We continued our walk around the park, but dawn was nearing and so was our time together. The giggles of children filled the air, which lessened the tension of today. Later, Ashlye returned, so we all tidied up our little picnic area.My family began towards the car, I lagged behind and said my unreceptive goodbyes. Now they are driving away, and all I can do is wave.But you know what? This was one of those good days, the ones that will remain in the memory bank for life or lack thereof. I'll see them next year on my birthday. In the meantime, I'll take care of the park for them and the other children.
Author Nelson Navarro is an 11th grader, currently in high school. He's trying to breeze over high school but many challenges arise, such as his two AP classes. He's dabbled into photography and to his surprise, he qualified for TSA (Technology Student Association) National Conference.
As with most writers, he was first a reader, a struggle for sure, taking reading classes up to 8th grade and never opening a book of his own. He has many to thank for his gradual growth and love of literature: teachers, friends, family. In the end, he would enjoy contributing to literature, it feels like the next step.