Almost every Monday I leave my Rotary meeting at the Women’s Building and turn south going down Broadway. Today, for absolutely no known reason I drove across Broadway and into the parking lot of the Children’s Park. I wondered if any flowers were in bloom. There were several cars there already and adults and children in the park. Through my rear view mirror I noticed a van across the parking lot, where two children and a mother were standing. The mother was carefully dividing a bouquet of flowers between the two small children (maybe four and five years old). Mother was holding a third child in her arms. I just sat in my Escape and watched as they went down into the park. She stopped to read several signs and then they walked to the west side of the circle path around the girl statue. There the children stopped to place their flowers and then they all stood quietly listening to their mother. Perhaps she was praying, or just remembering. After a few minutes they all walked on around the circle and the children skipped and ran to a spot to play. I was so moved by the moment that even now as I write this I need a Kleenex. I drove away wondering why they put the flowers there and not at the cemetery – and I realize that even as I write this that there are many possible answers to my question. The best part of all this was that the children were able to have a moment to honor the memory of a lost loved one and then go on to play, because after all that is what children do best – and the job that God has given them to do. Today I saw a complete picture of the Children’s Park. Today I felt the Children’s Park and what it must mean to so many. I’m so thankful I was given the opportunity and gift of being a part of it coming to fruition. God is very good. – Dawn

 

In 1951, my grandmother gave birth to her third child, a baby girl born with spina bifida.   Six weeks later, the baby died. When I first heard about the Children’s Park, I thought, “What a special place for people who have lost a child.” Then I realized that it wasn’t just for those who had recently lost a child. So, for Christmas 2004, my grandmother’s children and grandchildren gave her an engraved sidewalk stone at the Children’s Park , to honor the memory of her baby who died 53 years before. It is the most meaningful gift we could ever give her. She later told me that she had always wanted to find a way to publicly remember Baby Jill, in some way, other than the gravestone at the cemetery. After the stone was placed, I took my grandmother to the Children’s Park to see it. It was the first time she had ever been there. She said that, when she was attending Hogg Junior High School in the late 1930’s, she never would have dreamed that the “hole in the ground” just to the north of the school would someday become such a meaningful place to her.  -Luci

 

The Children’s Park meaning to me is very complicated.  It is a meaning of life and death. It is a meaning of a beginning and a end. It is a meaning of a happiness and sadness.  I always go to the park with my son and still to young to know the true meaning himself he is just a child when he there. And watching him be a child is exactly what the park is for me.  I remember the life of my child that is no longer here and others children, and thank God we have somewhere so beautiful for all the world come to remember children not with us anymore.  I think the park means different things to everyone and maybe that is the  way it should be.  It should mean to you what it needs to mean to you. -Kellie