To see children healthy and happy is a beautiful sight. As my son is nearing 5, I know our best days have been spent trying out playgrounds near our home in the US. London has shown us fun places like that as well. My son’s favorite playgrounds are usually those that are filled with sand, which he seems to bring home in his shoes.
We decided to try a very special place, The Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground. I read about it and saw pictures, showed them to Shane and we were both excited. We had the option of taking the tube or walking (well he had the luxury of the Jog stroller), he opted to “walk”. It was over 3 miles away, but a nice outing. We went through parts of Green Park, into Hyde Park and finally ended in Kensington Park. I was so happy to have finally made it!
It looked huge.
It looked empty.
It was locked.
Yes, they were doing their “spring maintenance” and would be open tomorrow. A father walked up next to me, with his two young girls, his jaw dropped along with mine. I turned to him and said, “Ok then, we’ll see you tomorrow.” Thankfully, during this 3 mile plus walk, I had seen another playground on the way, as did Shane. We walked back there and agreed that tomorrow would be THE Day for the Princess playground that, “boys can go to too, because it has a Pirate ship and Teepees.”
The minute the first rays of daylight entered the room our son was jumping up and down about going to the playground. We needed to get ready immediately and GO NOW. So, we did. We took the tube this time though and it was much quicker. My husband managed the Jog Stroller and I did the hand holding of the little man. Thankfully we were able to get there just after 9 when the playground opened. I would have fainted if we had to wait again. Honestly, I wanted to do on that darn Pirate Ship myself, check out the cabins, the Teepees, the suspended boats, the swings, etc. I had never seen a playground this big and beautiful in my life.
As I sat there and watched my son, it really warmed my heart. It has been a bit rough for us, with our silly Visa issues, but we are lucky to have resources like this. My son is so outgoing and easily makes friends. I loved how happy he was playing with the other children, making up games, climbing and swinging on all the great playground designs. As I looked around, it was a sea of parents and children enjoying the day, forgeting about other things and focusing on one another.
The Playground is in Kensington Park, home of Kensington Palace, where Princess Diana lived. My son and I were able to tour the portion of the Palace open to visits, see some of her dresses, pictures of her and her boys. My memory of her funeral is that of the two sweet boys, walking behind the casket of their mother, followed by their father. It was heartbreaking. My son asked sbout the Princes and where they are now. I said, “they grew up to be very nice your men. In fact, one got married to Princess Catherine.” Next, one of the Security guards, while hearing our conversation, said “And we are preparing a portion of this palace so that Prince William and Princess Catherine will live here, Prince Harry may join them too!” My son’s eyes lit up. I think he felt at ease that they “boys” were taken care of. Granted, you can say “I bet they are”. But in reality, they did lose their mother and so publicly. Second, it is my thought of how proud she has to be in the men that they have become. In fact, I feel as though that playground plays tribute to that time both in her life and in theirs. It shares her memory and give us, as parents, time that we get with our children and our chance to create our sweet William or Catherine.