Re-Living the Past

While I was home last week, I took advantage of a sunny afternoon and got in the car with Ava and my sister Jennie, to do something I've been looking forward to for awhile.  I am so excited that Ava is at the perfect age to begin playing at the park.  She loves to be outside and I think we will be spending as much time as we can this summer and fall exploring our local parks.  Anyway, I had a little spot in mind that I wanted to take her, just minutes from the house I grew up in.  I grew up calling it "circus park" and spent many hours there, including a birthday party or two.  In my mind I could still picture it, but I had no idea if it was still in existence or not.  I was thrilled when we pulled up and discovered, it was still there and contained much of the old playground equipment!  
It's definitely seen better days and several of the "attractions" are not in the shape they used to be in, but I loved the vintage feel it still had and the fact that it's not even been repainted since I was little!  I was amazed at the memories that came flooding back as I walked around, this time not as a child, but as a parent with my own daughter.  
Ava was also intrigued, happy to be out of the car I think :) 
We took her right to the baby swings while she giggled and kicked her little legs!
She loved getting pushes from Aunt Jennie and let us know with that toothy grin of hers!
But because she's a curious little thing, she had to examine everything around her, including the sand beneath us.
And then she must have set her sights on something interesting :) 
She looks like a little navigator, huh?
I have a feeling we will be logging many hours in baby swings this summer!
After the swinging ran its course, we walked over to the gem of this park...The old, original elephant slide.  I could not believe it was still here and how nostalgic it made me!  It was exactly how I remembered it.  Old, metal and steep.  I LOVED it when I was a kid!
Ava liked it too :) Must be hereditary!
Aunt Jennie helped her sit at the top and we both helped her slide down...So weird to think I was doing the same thing, many years ago.
I remember being in high school and college, driving around my hometown, wondering what kind of plans God had for my life.  Would I live here someday, where I grew up?  Would I meet my husband there?  What kind of job would I have?  How many kids would God give me, if any?  Where would we buy a house?  Usually I thought about those things when I was discouraged and convinced that God had forgotten me :) I liked to imagine what might be in store and how God might do it...
Never in my wildest dreams could I have painted the picture He was creating for me.  It's surreal today for me to go back home, with my Texan husband and my firstborn baby.  God's plans and more importantly His timing, is always perfect.  I didn't dream big enough when I wondered if He cared about me, about my future.  He has taken me on a ride so wild and fulfilling, it makes me wonder why I ever doubt Him!  In a crazy, sentimental way, being at that old park and re-living some of my childhood gave me a fresh reminder about God's Sovereignty.  Someday I know that Ava will go through those same emotions and have similar thoughts, imagining and dreaming about how the Lord will direct her steps.  I hope I can remind her of what He did for me and how He scripted the best possible story in a way only He could.  

For a moment last week, I soaked up all the sweet nostalgia of being with my baby, in a familiar place.  Funny how God can use a park to remind you He's still there, pen in hand, writing a future that He's had in mind for you all along.  

We had a great day at the park and a fun week being home.  I can't wait for all the other little places and memories I'll get to re-live with her as she grows up!  
The Lord has been so good to me!!

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord.
'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts." 
Isaiah 55:8-9


Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife said...

Ava is soo cute! Looks like she enjoyed the park! = )

Charlie and Manda said...

Oh wow- many hours spent at that same park growing up, and the elephant slide was my favorite, although that giraffe thing (that isn't shown) was also great. Thanks for the pictures. I can't wait to take our little one there next year. God has been good to us!

Rachel said...

This is such a precious post!! She is just adorable!! It's kinda overwhelming to think about the plans that the Lord has for our childrens' lives, but also comforting to know that He is faithful in all of our lives!! =)

hannahbro5 said...

So I take it that the city finally cleaned off all of the drawn on male body parts that were on there before?

Amber said...

Sweet post, Steph. I love the pics of Ava. Her teeth are so stinkin cute! I can't believe she's one tomorrow already! How time flies, huh?!
Was the lion water fountain still there? I can remember being just a little bit nervous about sticking my head in the lion's mouth for a drink! Loved the walk down memory lane!!

Toni :O) said...

Happy First Birthday to your sweet girl today! Hope it was as much fun for her as it was for you!

Emily said...

That was such a sweet post. It brought tears to my eyes. I love to read about your experiences with Ava. I can't believe how fast this time seems to be going. Already walking---I can't beleive it. :-)