Thursday, January 15, 2009

Skatepark or Police Memorial in Less Than 30 Minutes

As I mentioned yesterday, Little K didn't want to go to school. As my friend Amy sometimes says, "Well, I don't want to go to work but I have to." It got me thinking about how hard it can be for working parents to do fun things out of the norm with their kids. I luckily have a flexible schedule but I still find myself grasping for more time with my daughter. This week, I started getting anxious about Little K starting PreK this fall so I find myself using short amounts of time to spend with her doing memorable things. Like yesterday...
After school, we went to the Lee & Joe Jamail Skatepark (page 93 of my latest book). I honestly expected it to be somewhat grungy because that's what I expect from skate boarders. (Just being honest.) I was pleasantly surprised & really surprised with Little K taking to the sport -- or the watching of it. I liked that several parents accompanied their kids to the outdoor park that opened in 2008 & that staff members walked the park to ensure safety and good behavior. Surprise.

One man turned on this radio, put on his safety equipment and began skating. He kind of looked at us with curiosity so we kept walking around the park, watching various people (like another man in the photo above). I love that you can see the Houston skyline in the background? The skaters skate in what looks like empty swimming pools with a few extra bumps. (I thought it would just be the above ground ramps that the kids used to make in my neighborhood.) When I was ready to go due being cold in a short-sleeved shirt, Little K insisted that we stay for a bit longer. We did. On the way out, we looked at the posted graffitti art and the purple cow (Little K's favorite).

On our way home, we stopped by the Police Memorial on Memorial Drive. Little K ran in the field toward the memorial as I tried to keep up with her & explain what a "memorial" is. She couldn't help but to be happy with the openness of this stop. I finally decided that, while the Police Memorial honors those officers who gave their lives in the line of duty, a solemn nature is not always required here. I hope others will appreciate a youngster's spirit & joy in attending this memorial.
Once we reached the base of the Police Memorial, we looked up & down realizing we could go either way. Onward & upward, I always say. So we climbed four stairs up & met a deadend - sort of. We next had to move to the right or left side of the square monument in order to find the next set of stairs up. Little K chose right. Right we went & up we went until we came to a similar situaton of needing to choose a path in order to get to our destination. After four levels & 16 stairs up, we found ourselves at the top of the Police Memorial. The view from the top, as they say, was breathtaking & calming all at the same time... & no, it was not strenuous. But I couldn't help but to think (as I'm sure you're supposed to) about the choices police officers make on a regular basis about which way to go and how to handle different situations. Little K is too young at 3.5 years to understand that but I loved it. Little K liked the soft-flowing fountain at the top (seen in the photo above, left). Fallen officers' names are etched in the marble around the water. It's really neat and something most kids can accomplish.
If you only have 30 minutes between school and dinner (or whatever), this is an easy, unique activity. If you have more time, pack a picnic blanket and snacks to enjoy in the fields surrounding the memorial and then take a walk along the paved path along Buffalo Bayou. I was glad that we again made the visit.
Until the next nap time...