Every summer, we go with friends to various parks around Jerusalem.
Parks are great for so many reasons. They are FREE, and FUN, and MANY different families can all come and PLAY TOGETHER. Also, the kids feel free to run off and play by themselves, leaving the moms free to sit around and chat!
We love finding "new parks," but we also have our "old favorites."
My friend, IS, is the primary motivator and coordinator.
Our favorite park is The Mifletzet in Kiryat Yovel, in southwest Jerusalem. (click here for an arial view).
That's where we went today.
Our get-togethers are open to anyone who wants to join us, but there are several families who are "regulars." IS, NA, CV and I, all spent years together, meeting for "playgroups" with our kids. In many ways, our park excursions are the natural extension of our playgroups. The kids still get to play, and the moms still get to talk.
I was happy to learn that we would all be there, though it took a while for everyone to arrive. As usual, we talked about many interesting topics. (Thanks IS, for stimulating our discussions with your thoughtful questions!)
Y was the last to arrive, coming by bus from her course in French Hill (northeast Jersusalem). Due to a few mixups, she took 3 buses and still ended up in the wrong place!
She was not far away, but by bus it could take another 30-45 minutes. I felt so bad for her, and a bit frustrated, but I was too tired to pick her up. My friend, NA, just shrugged her shoulders, noting calmly "that's how they learn to get around." I wish that would be my first reaction!
NA offered to go pick Y up, and I was so grateful and relieved. I called Y to tell her; Y's first response was "if it's not too much trouble." I was so proud of her. I knew she was frustrated about the amount of time she already spent on those THREE buses, and yet she did not want to inconvenience someone else. (it makes a mommy proud)
Once Y arrived, she immediately disappeared with IS's and NA's daughters. The younger siblings were already out and about, sliding, climbing, and building sand castles.
IS had arrived early enough to claim a bench right across from the slides, so we had primary visual access to our children. And a short, stone wall just opposite us, so the kids could sit and hang out with us whenever they wanted.
At one point, A was building sand castles with RV, who is several years younger. CV asked me if I thought A was just being nice to RV. I looked over at my youngest daughter, and noticed how happily she was playing. Clearly, she was not concerned about the age difference.
As we were about to leave the park, the girls suddenly jumped up and went down the slides all together. It was a pleasure to see Y and the other older girls playing and laughing freely.
My son finally reappeared, with the other older boys, when it was time to go. MD is at his best, when he is outdoors, and can run and climb. He has always been my little "nature boy;" though he is not so little anymore.
We all had a wonderful time.
I had really pushed myself to get out of the house this afternoon. I was so tired.
It was so worth it!
Parks bring out the best in us all!
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,