One year ago today we stood shoulder to shoulder with the mayor of our city to break ground on the road that will lead to Sophie and Madigan Lillard Memorial Playground. This year has been full of ups and downs and a couple of crazy sideways curveballs, but we’ve made it through. Each piece of equipment has been ordered, all of the city’s requirements have been met, contractors have been hired. Now it’s just a matter of months. This summer, into early fall, the first phase of the girls playground will be opening to welcome families of all abilities.
Given the current pandemic the opening won’t look exactly like the vision in my head. Over the last few months I’ve grown to accept that the grand event with music and countless families gathering to celebrate that was planned has to make space for a gentler opening. It will likely look like a few close friends and families gathering a few tears, my kids happily playing on equipment that jack and I painstakingly worried over, did we get it just right, start with the right phase, will we be able to persevere as we move into phase 2?
I’m hopeful. Hopeful that with this gentle slower opening we’ll really get a chance to take it all in, to really look at each other, and the work we’ve done to make it this far. Hopeful that we are renewed in resolve to honor our girls sweet giving personalities by pushing to include more families, do more to make sure kids can stand hand and hand and play together. I’m hopeful that this space will bring joy to many families.
I’m so grateful to everyone who has walked beside us through the beginning of this life long journey, I know we could not have done it alone. I’m grateful that phase one is coming to a close, the initial period of stretching beyond our comfort zones, working through shock, grief, trauma because we didn’t know what else to do, how else to survive. I look forward to a renewed sense of urgency to build phase two, not just based on the fact that two beautiful little girls died and that is sad, but because seeing families play together is inspiring, creating a culture of inclusion is important, and worthy work. That is how we honor Sophie and Madigan. That is how we continue their legacy.