Park Friends

I’m going to just go on out on a limb and call this a series.  Places I’ve made friends.

Community can come from anywhere.  Sometimes I don’t even see it coming.  The city park is that place for me.

When we first moved to the Jackson area, I had a one year old and my husband spent many long hours in the library as a new law student.  My one year old and I spent countless hours at the local city park.  It had sand as it’s base, and most of the equipment was fine for her to play on, so we would load up our sand toys and a picnic lunch and spend hours there.  That’s where I met a sweet friend who had a little boy the same age.  She turned out to also be a nurse and lived very near us so we made easy conversation.  We lived in that area for four years, and over those years, we did Bible study together, welcomed children into our families, and watched each other succeed in many ways.    When they closed the park for remodeling, we met up at Chick-fil-a to socialize.  That was one of my most unexpected friendships.

When we moved to another new town four hours away, I knew that the park was where I would meet people with kids the same age as my own.  My daughter would enter kindergarten not knowing a single soul, so we hit the park.  I did not have that same experience in the new town.  It wasn’t until t-ball that we started to meet some people that would become sweet friends down the road.  T-ball is a great place to start these friendships because no one is competitive there.  Everything is funny and there’s no pressure for a four year old to play pro next year.  If t-ball has already passed for you, take heart, I’ve made better friends on up.

Softball came next for us.  While I’m not texting or calling these moms on a daily basis, I have met some wonderful people and gleaned a great deal of wisdom from some of them.  A lot of these women were there supporting their younger children which were the same age as my oldest.  Conversations about child rearing are invaluable.  People are generally willing to share very openly when you are willing to listen.  Now, four to five years later, we have watched each others’ kids grow and succeed.  Some of them are so much fun to watch improve.  Beware though, true colors come out at that ballpark.  And in Mississippi, crazy comes out with its colors on.  There’s no hiding it at the ballpark.

We signed up our son for t-ball in another town so he could play at an earlier age.  This was somewhat taxing on our family due to schedules, but I wasn’t going to be the one to tell my three-almost four year old that he couldn’t play ball.  He was so serious about it–still is.  I met lots of people in that new town and Spencer met some life-long friends.  One of the families already had some mutual friends with us, so we hit it right off, and our boys get along great.  They are going to be fun to watch as they grow older.

Baseball and soccer have been mostly a treat.  Remember, I said that all the colors come out at the park.  I’ve met some wonderful people.  Hopefully, those friendships will grow and develop over the years.  When all of our children are on the same team, I believe we will have a blast.  This past year was a lot of fun because our team contained a lot of church friends.  Soccer was excellent because our team contained a lot of school friends.  I’ll talk more about them in the next post.  It is so much fun to cheer on my friends’ kids.

Have you met friends at the park?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!  I just never know who will be a friend next and I love hearing other people’s stories!

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