Patriarche Park Review

This seems to be the biggest and most popular park around, though it took me a couple tries to find it.  That is less a product of it being in a hidden or hard to get to place (it’s actually right off of one of the busiest and main roads around) and more of me being incompetent with my phone (I’m my phone’s bitch) and maps in general.

It was another gray, cold and wet day and we were again desperate to get out of the apartment.  We took back our recycling to the recycling center (one of the things we’ve found to incorporate into our weekly routine.  Bonus: the kids think it’s super fun) and when we hopped back into the car I noticed some drops on our windshield and suggested perhaps today wasn’t the day for the park after all and that maybe we could go to the library instead (though that tends to make me incredibly nervous and I am always anticipating a speedy retreat any time I set foot in there).

Uncharacteristically, though, the kids were incredibly non-loud and there was even no screaming or fighting.  In fact, I’m always wowed when this happens, but my kids actually looked for a short time to outsiders like the perfect little homeschooled kids that I always envision in my wildest fantasies they will become and that I often envy in other families that I idolize.  (No one at the library that day need to know about the true state of things in my family and home).  Call me a phony but I ate it up.

I was in such high spirits that even though it was still coldish and wet when we left the library, though it had stopped raining, that I decided to take them to the park after all.  I dunno if it was the warmer-ish (than freezing) weather, the cool updated play equipment or the fact that we were all in good moods that made them super excited to play at this park.  This was in stark contrast to Shaw park that we had been to a few days earlier.  You just can never tell how a day is going to shake out.

The park had some older play equipment in one corner that we never got over to explore and some clearly recently updated stuff that I’m sure local newspapers have been raving over.  I can tell because it had loads of ergonomic and nature-based themes going on and I’ve been to enough parks that I know what’s hot.  Playground-makers are clearly on the right track as my kids loved this park and never stopped running, yelling and laughing the entire hour we were there.

There was even a nice muddy hill nearby that led down into a rain garden that had a nice interpretive sign nearby (Miles loved stomping in the mud).  So, that’ll be pretty sweet to watch change as the weather gets warmer.  Plus, very progressive of them which appeals to me and makes me feel like I’m living in a cool, hip city which is perfect because I’m a cool, hip person (not).  There were some stacked picnic tables, a path and some baseball diamonds, I think.  Not to mention the piece de resistance of parkdom: this place had a bathroom.  With real plumbing. Though I guess it’s technically still the off season so we had to use the port-a-potty they had set up outside the bathroom for now.  Still…a park with a bathroom is a park you can spend the entire day at, which I have been known to do from time to time.

As far as potential friends, there was one other large family there, or one family with kids and the kids friends as it seemed like there were an awful lot of them and they didn’t all look alike (and they got along too well to all be siblings).  In true bumpkin fashion, as I’ve said before that my kids are infamous for, and though it was in the lower fifties, Ruth and Joel both took their shoes off and started running and climbing barefoot.  The kids (who looked a little older than Ruth) who were on the swings saw this and began to copy, when their dad or whatever responsible adult was with them, hurried over and began to seriously berate them for taking off their shoes at a public park in such frigid weather while shooting me and my kids sidewise glances.   So much for friend potential.

Sigh.  I guess I should get used to this and learn to not let it bother me.  I’m going to have to learn to deal with the fact that being homeschooled, my kids are probably often going to do things outside the box (isn’t that why I’m homeschooling in the first place??)  It’s a mixed bag, though, and I’ve learned myself that it’s never easy when you leave behind conventional norms to take a different path.  You are often met with confusion, judgment, and sometimes downright hostility.

The kids had a great time and this park will definitely be on our list to revisit a lot in the future.  It seems like in the warmer months, it will be the park to go to and so a great place to meet people.

I give this park 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to spending a lot of time there in the future.

(I do have some pictures I could share from this trip but I’ll be damned if I have a clue as to how to get them from my phone to my computer…??  Is there some kind of ritualistic sacrifice I need to make to appease my phone?  Or just a button I need to push…?


Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 5, and 8 living in the metro Lansing area writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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