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the longest four weeks ever

In September 2021 when I organized a Park Day meetup I told people we'd meet for four weeks, September into October. The idea was that people would be more willing to invest in a gathering that they knew wouldn't be a one-off that everyone would forget about, but they wouldn't have to make a big commitment either, like they would joining a co-op. I guess it worked, because this afternoon we celebrated our one-year anniversary!

kids on the play structure, the pond in the background

another day at the park

I don't know that anybody decided the thing was going to keep on for a year and more, but I guess we just never felt like stopping (except a couple weeks at Christmas and one time when it was rainy and folks were tired). Getting together every week is as important for the parents as it is for the kids: homeschooling can be isolating, and the pandemic was isolating, and some of the parents who come have said that getting to talk and listen at the park is what kept them sane over the past year. I don't know that I'm ever sane, but I sure liked hanging out with old friends, and meeting some new ones.

And eating! Once we got started with bringing food it never really stopped. It's mostly not overwhelming, though there are definitely weeks when some of the kids are challenged to burn more calories than they take on. Just something else to look forward to! I didn't make a cake for the anniversary, like I was kind of thinking of; there wasn't time. Instead I just made banana chocolate chip muffins. Which was fun because I've brought them before a bunch of times, and I wasn't the only one to offer an old favorite. Harvey made chocolate chip cookies, someone else brought popovers like they do every other week or so, and there were gluten-free cookie bars like many times before. All together it felt like a greatest hits: very celebratory.

There was a good crowd too, with some new families coming for just the second time and a few other back from summer vacations and obligations. We'd be all set to go another year—we were talking about how we're looking forward to more skating—but there are rumors the park is being torn down soon. So who knows? I guess we've started one institutional event, so if need be we can do it again!

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