Saturday was one of those perfect days. The kind you want to wrap up and put away in your scrapbook of favorite memories. We took the entire family to Irvine Regional Park for the first time to spend a beautiful afternoon in the Southern California sun. I had seen online that there was a small scale train that took a short trip around the park and I knew that would be something Blake would love. Little did I know that I would remember this day for much more than a train ride. At 14 months Blake was at the point where he was just starting to feel the freedom of walking one his own. Well, not quite on his on since he still wanted to have that one hand held for support. But with that hand he was walking like a pro – actually dragging whomever was the hand holder at the time in whatever direction he wanted to go. Still walking completely on his own was restricted to a couple of tentative steps – always looking for that safe harbor of support. Until today.
The train was absolutely adorable. A perfect experience for a family with small children. The small scale engine would be right at home in Disneyland. Complete with beautifully polished details and the perfect high pitched whistle. There is a honest to goodness railroad crossing at a point where the train crosses one of the park roads and we even saw a peacock on our short trip around the park. We made a mental note that the picnic area nearest the train station was just perfect for birthday parties (and of course I made another mental note that it would be just as perfect for an engagement session :)). After the train ride it was time to stroll the park and see the sites. A cute little pond with ducks milling about, another pond where park visitors were paddling around on what looked like tricycles with enormous and colorful plastic wheels, great expanses of grass and trees with people enjoying every kind of outdoors activity. There was a serene happiness to this place that just made you want to take off your shoes and stay awhile. And so we did. We found a shaded grassy area with a picnic table and sat down for some lunch. The grass here was quite lush and Blake soon was dragging each one of us around in all directions looking at all there was to explore. Cynthia encouraged him ,as she had been for some time, to take some steps on his own – without that ever present hand for support. And then it happened. One, two, three, four…five, six! And there he stood wondering at his achievement. Maybe it was the soft cushion of grass which promised a not-so-rough landing but suddenly he had a confidence in his step that he hadn’t had before. Of course he continued to seek the comfort of that one hand for support. But during the course of that hour he ventured out again and again with a smile on his face that maybe only a toddler can truly understand. And he hasn’t looked back since.