Last Friday we had our weekly Park Day. There's a gated park at the end of my street that has a couple of play areas and a ton of grass (for frisbees, football or kite-flying).
When I first moved here, there was a group of women who met there with their kids on Fridays after school to hang out and talk (while the kids played and ran around). They called it "Park Day". The gal who sort of organized the whole thing (we'll call her "Q") was an uber-homemaker who baked something every day, so she always brought cookies or something. The women brought lawn chairs and juice boxes and scooters, and a fun afternoon was had by all.
Well, "Q" moved last June (2008) and as new people came to the neighborhood, I encouraged them to come to Park Day. I was welcomed there, and it was fun. However, when "Q" moved, Park Day changed. The ladies who had always been there weren't as welcoming as "Q" had been, and they openly showed their disdain for the newcomers. (To this day I'm not sure that I was ever really welcomed, I believe that those ladies probably said some mean things about me when I wasn't around...) They made the new folks visibly uncomfortable. So, Park Day disbanded - unofficially.
About a month or so ago, my Paiaha Ohana suggested resurrecting Park Day - but with a new twist. This would be much more casual, more friendly and welcoming to whomever wanted to come. All you needed was a chair, a smile, and some sunglasses (because the sun shines brighter in the park, I think). We gathered in the Park for that first new Park Day, and fun was had by all.
So, the tradition continues!
And last Friday was the best of all (so far). We had 8 families represented,which was fantastic. Many of the dads also came. (That was rare with the old Park Day - too much gossip...) In addition to normal laughter, there was a small birthday party for one of the kids. To see her face light up while blowing out candles with her Ohana around, it was precious.
We decided to bring dinner-type foods, too. As we've been staying at the park until dark, the kids were too tired to eat a proper dinner (and so their Friday night dinners had consisted of cookies and cheese puffs and whatever else the moms had grabbed on the way out the door...) I don't think dinner will be a weekly event, but it sure was fun. The kids ate a little better, and moms didn't worry what they'd do about dinner when Park Day was over...
Two of the moms are expecting babies before the end of the year (one is expecting a boy, the other a girl). One mom invited Alissa and I to feel her tummy. It's been a LONG time since I've felt a baby bump. It was sweet and precious and so wonderful. To be so close to this mom that she'd share that with us was priceless. And we felt the baby's head!! It was so cool.
These are memories that I want to hold onto forever. To keep in my heart to remember our days here in Hawaii. How the folks we met became a part of our life and grew to be very special to us. I document them here so I will have them many years from now, to remind me of those people, their generosity. Of Penny's super-funny stories and how I look forward to them. Of the baby bumps (and the new babies that will soon join our weekly festivities). Of the Thursdays every week and how I can't wait for one more day, for Friday, because I know what's coming. Stories and laughter and hugs from all the kids, not just the ones that belong to you. A group of more than just neighbors - a group of true friends.
Ohana who read this, you all mean so much to me. I have never lived anywhere where neighbors meant this much. Where all 100 of our kids could play together, and run together, and be together. Hawaii has a whole new meaning for me because you are part of that experience.
So, for the 2 moms-to-be, I made baby blankets. You may remember the one I made for my sister back in July. I fell in love with it. It wasn't perfect, but it sure turned out pretty cool in my opinion.
I gave them the blankets on Friday at Park Day:
for the girl baby, whose nursery is pink and chocolate:
for the boy baby, whose nursery is shades of blue:Now I just need an excuse to make another one. I love doing it. I am really working up to making one for my own bed. But I need a few smaller ones under my belt first. And they're so stinking cute!
Happy Tuesday, everyone! Leave me a note. And if you know anyone who might like a baby blanket....