Once upon a time, way back in the late 90s, there was a silly college girl. She had lots of great friends, and they liked to hang out downtown at the new park. It was called Coolidge Park, and it was right on the river. There was a fountain with stone animals. One night, this girl hopped on one of the animals with her bushy eyebrows in full effect and one of her friends snapped a picture on a 35mm camera. Because in the late 90s, that's all anyone had.
Some time in the next year or two, this girl graduated and started teaching. She also started dating a not-so-silly boy. Their first date was on September 24, 1999. They dated for five looooong weeks before the boy kissed the girl on November 9. And when he did, it was on a blanket at Coolidge Park. There were a lot of people all around, but he didn't care. He also didn't care that he had mustard on his lip from his sandwich. (She didn't tell him about that for quite some time because she didn't want him to be embarrassed. Plus she wanted more kisses.)
On November 24, during a warm thunderstorm, the boy and girl spontaneously drove to the park and made out in the pouring-down rain like teenagers even though he was a college junior and she was a fourth-grade teacher.
On February 12, 2000, the boy sent the girl all over Chattanooga on a scavenger hunt. He led her to several places that had meant something in their relationship. The pond where they'd had a serious talk, the Krystal where they'd passed notes on napkins. But of course, the hunt had to end at Coolidge Park. And despite the fact that the boy's neck was scratched up and bleeding because he dove into the bushes near the post office because he saw her car, he got down on one knee and asked the girl to be his wife.
Years passed and they didn't go to Coolidge Park very much. It wasn't very far from their house, but as careers and children took precedence, leisure time kind of got put on the back burner.
The girl did take her son Andrew there a couple of times with friends. This picture was taken in May 2007 when Andrew was about 14 months old. (Note the 12m swim trunks...those are the same ones he sometimes wears now...) Mommy and Son on the same horse.
A couple of years passed and they didn't really have time to go back. A new son, Benjamin, was born, and there were several complications that kept them relatively busy and preoccupied. But on May 30, 2009, the boy and the girl, who cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered a boy or a girl anymore, got in their minivan and drove to Coolidge Park on a beautifully sunny day. And they had their two precious sons with them.
More pictures are below, but first, here is a picture of the couple's firstborn son on the same horse as the one his mommy rode about 12 years earlier.
Everything comes around full circle. *sniff* *sniff*
Arriving at the park, full of enthusiasm.
Andrew loved the carousel!
Hold on tight, Baby B!
He needed help from Daddy to get up on the elephant.
Andrew is in the lower right-hand corner in his Elmo swimtrunks. And, yes, he's rockin' the buttcrack. Now that he's not wearing a diaper, everything falls off his skinny hips! At Mom's house he often wears a 12m pair of swim trunks but they're getting a little snug. These Elmo shorts are 18-24m. (He's 38 months old.)
While there, I met up with an Internet buddy, Nicole, who lives in Orlando but was in Chattanooga for her brother-in-law's wedding. She has two daughters (Kira and Kate) and a hubby (Trevor) who are not in the picture. Her son, Timothy, was born in the same month as Benjamin. Great to meet you, Nicole!!
Luckily, I packed Andrew's dorky Elmo sun hat and Benjamin tolerated it pretty well. Even though I slathered both boys in sunscreen, it was bright and hot!
Here's Andrew having a ball in the fountain. He kept saying, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" to the other kids.
And at the end of the day (really only about 90 minutes), both boys were exhausted and took great naps!