Last night the younger kids and I went on a walk. We spent a bit of time at a park on our block. It was a place we spent hours and hours at when they were small, basically from 6 months old to about age 7 for Lissa. KC was about 9 when we pretty much stopped going. The park is geared to the younger set and suddenly, the magically dinosaur themed equipment was no longer massive.
The dinosaur that KC spent hours trying to climb was now an easy hop and a jump. There are still large swings that Lissa enjoyed last night. While she was swinging KC and I walked around the park. He is a lover of memories, my child most likely to treasure a card or a "remember when" moment. And sure enough, he was recounting all the things we did over the years there. When certain pieces of equipment arrived, who we met there. Who we were still friends with despite having moved on from "dino days." Funny anecdotes, like the splashing contests we sometimes had in puddles there. It all came flooding back to him and we both really enjoyed revelling in the re-telling.
He got a bit weepy over the fact that he doesn't enjoy the park in the same way any more. Moving on is hard for anyone and I suspect a bit more so for KC who clings to the magic of childhood with tenacious grip. I reminded him that the greatest gift the dino park gave him was the fact that it was so magical that at nearly 13 he could remember how special it was and that nothing would take that away. He smiled and said that he wanted to make sure that when he has kids that they go to the dino park just like he did. I said that maybe they would, but that if life took him some place else, he would remember the fun we made there and would find something like that to give to his kids. It was sort of an "ah ha" moment for him to realize that you could draw from the beauty of an experience and not necessarily have to replicate it exactly. A huge growth moment among falling leaves and beautiful memories.