The family and I were invited to Rose Park for a student appreciation barbecue hosted by Abilene Martial Arts Center where Dylan is studying Kuk Sool Won. Kuk Sool Won is Korean martial arts. Dylan has only been going for a little over a month, but he is learning quickly. There has been a wonderful change in Dylan since he started going as well. He's always been a good kid, but he has been terribly shy around people. Hanging out with the people at AMAC has helped Dylan to blossom. He is still a wall flower, but he is finally beginning to come around.
At the barbecue, we ate burgers and hot dogs, and conversed with the other parents and members of the school. It was difficult for me to stand back and give Dyl his space, but I have come to realize that in order for him to become a young man, I have to stand back and allow him the room he needs.
Damien went for a walk after he ate, and I had DJ go for a walk with me as well. We circled the park, and I showed Damien where he took his first steps sixteen years ago when the playground equipment was brand new. The ground of the play area is now cracked and the green paint faded. Pieces of the playground equipment have been removed due to wear and tear, but the park still looks pretty close to the same.
So many memories have been made in Rose Park, and it is the park that we frequented before my family members moved away. I remember going to my first Cinco de Mayo celebration at Rose Park not too long after Zachary was born. I cannot believe that was twenty years ago. Where has the time gone?
As I said, this is where we took Damien to play when we lived in Abilene after he was born. It's where DJ and I spent the day during a Battle of the Bands competition with our baby under a huge shade tree that no longer stands in the park. Also at the time, we lived on South 15th street between Barrow and Willis where our small home no longer stands and has been replaced by a field behind a bank. Rose Park was the closest park to home aside from Redbud, and often, the only way I could get my baby to sleep was to take him to swing. The renovations at Redbud Park had yet to be completed, and there were no baby swings at Redbud at the time. So, Rose Park became our park of choice. With Dad, Zach, and Allyssa living on South 11th, it was their park of choice as well. Dad and I often took the children to the park to play.
Years later, after we had moved to Michigan City, and then back to Abilene, we made new memories at Rose Park. With three toddlers in tow and one school aged child, Dad and I allowed the children to expend their energy on the equipment. The skate park was built, and Zachary was seldom at home because his favorite place in the world was on his skateboard. The public pool at Rose Park is where both of my boys learned to swim, and it is where we spent most of our days during the summers. As the years have passed, and the boys have grown, we have spent less and less days at the park. For a while, it was because we live closer to Scarborough Park and the equipment was just as nice. Eventually, it was due to the boys losing interest in the park all together.
It was nice, on Saturday, for all of us to be at the park once again. I cannot say how long it has been since we have all been to the park together. When DJ and I returned to the barbecue area, I asked DJ to get my camera and dog so that I could preserve this day, and the dog could get some exercise. DJ returned with chairs that we used to lounge in under the canopy of trees overhead. The weather was nice, but the sun was harsh, as the sky was clear.
Damien sat perched in a tree for a while before he decided to take Killer for a walk around Rose Park. Killer met many new children, and he kissed a few girls. His tail wagged incessantly, and I swear Killer was smiling. Damien sat next to us, and he was smiling as well. Damien always does best when he is out in nature.
DJ sat and enjoyed the day before we sauntered off for a trek around the park once again, and I photographed the chalk artwork left behind by a group of girls. DJ and I walked hand-in-hand and gabbed about the day. I shared memories of the park that had been filed in the deep recesses of my mind until that moment.
I photographed one of two pairs of shoes hanging high above on a power line before the clear blue sky, and I thought of how many of us live our lives. We hang on to something insignificant waiting for it to break and dreaming of a future that we may never have instead of truly living day by day. I know that many people live like this because I know that until recently I lived like this too.