A Walk in the Park


As a mother of four children I know where the recreational parks are located throughout Lansing. My first two children, while growing up on Cooper Ave in Colonial Village, went to school at Elmhurst elementary. We frequently enjoyed trips to that park on school days and non school days. Within a mile we were able to access Quentin Park, Frances Park and Moores River Park. Growing up in the north side of Lansing our parks were miraculous wonderlands. We had two parks within a block of our house; Filley and St. Therese. I remember spending hours playing at these parks with my brother and neighbor friends Lisa and Chrissy. We would spin each other on the merry-go-round until it was unhealthy. My favorite though was the swings. We would swing, kicking our feet into the air; pretending to fly.
For father’s day we were invited to Pat’s parents for brunch. They are also parents of four children. When I first started dating Pat, who had 3 younger siblings at the time (ages 11, 13 and 16) I would often find the younger two playing catch in the street or basketball around the corner at Mt. Hope Elementary school. My father in law was the history teacher at Otto Middle School for 38 years. He knew kids. After a robust Thanksgiving meal, perfectly made by his wife, he would often announce we were going outside to play football. He had two daughters and two sons and now me. We would head out to the tree lined street in front of their house, evenly split into teams, set up end zones; “that tree and the end of that driveway”, and play 3 on 3 tag football. Sometimes we would all walk over to the baseball field behind Mt Hope Elementary school and play softball. When Pat and I added the first set of grandchildren to the mix we moved to taking the kids to the park. We would talk or play Frisbee keeping an eye on the kids kicking their feet into the sky; pretending to fly. Years went by and those grandkids grew. They grew to a point where they could play with us. Once again we were out in the street after a perfect home cooked meal; three generations playing a game of street tag football. As spouses came into the picture our football games were often moved to larger fields to accommodate our growth. Variations began to play out as children were born or families moved away. Sometimes the wives and mothers would stay inside and enjoy talk over a cup of coffee and homemade blueberry pie. Sometimes the grandparents stayed inside with the youngest O’Meara’s while the second and older third generations played. As for this Sunday, the first generation and his oldest son both clasping the hand of a young toddler walked over to the park to watch the youngest of our clan swing high in a swing; pretending to fly.

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