Our neighbourhood playground was dismantled today. Yesterday afternoon the construction fence went up, this morning the bulldozers arrived, and by suppertime there were only piles of weathered wood and primary-coloured slabs of plastic, remnants of the slides, lying in the rain. It happened so fast that I didn’t have time to get sentimental, to think that I’d actually miss it. Let’s be honest, I’m not a park mom. “Can we go to that park, mom?” asks Aaron every single time we drive by. “No, honey, it’s raining.” “No, sweetie, I have work to do at home.” “No, love, it’s time for your nap.” And I have not felt a sliver of guilt over my deft maneuvers of park avoidance. Until now. Now I can never be THAT park mom again. There will, no doubt, be a new, flashier, über-park for Aaron and the other kids to enjoy. It will probably be safer and sliver-free. It really has nothing to do with the park. It has everything to do with what I’ve possibly missed and can never get back. One of my dearest friends lost everything when her island home burned to the ground. Most of her childhood pictures, records, and school projects were destroyed, as was the notebook in which her mom recorded the timing of each contraction as they sailed across the channel to the hospital to give birth to Jen. (I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve always thought that was a particularly tragic loss). Resilient and creative, Jen and her siblings created an amazing book for their parents. Words and pictures chronicled the heroic coast guard effort to save the house. Family and friends put to pen special memories of over 30 years at Kask Island. And a new, identical house was rebuilt. We celebrated Julianna’s 6th birthday in that new house. New memories. Good memories. And in the post-fire memory-making somehow I dug a little deeper and planted each memory a little more securely. Heather and Tabea threw a fabulous baby shower for Julianna when she was born. Each guest wrote a piece of advice in a little book for the new mom – the most oft-given words of wisdom were to enjoy each stage and not to rush into the next. In the ensuing years of sleepless nights, grocery store tantrums and rivers of spilled milk those words got buried. I just remembered them as I’ve been writing. We’ll love the new park. And the day it’s done I won’t tell Aaron that we have to wait until tomorrow.