Last month, I took Miles for a special "alone" outing to Chatsworth Park. This is a place that I especially enjoyed in my youth, loving to climb up and amongst the rocks to high peaks and then down into valleys not accessible by motorized vehicles. I loved it enough that when my parents stopped taking me there, I would get on my bicycle and ride over 10 miles just to enjoy it.
If the scenes look familiar to those readers of a certain age, they should. This park is located in the Santa Suzanna Pass on the northern tip of both the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. Many Western movies were filmed there, cowboys (and sometimes indians) shooting it out from between the rocky formations.
Miles, Lucy, & I did not ascend to the highest peaks during our outing... Eric texted me on my new I-phone to let us know that he and Gabby were coming to join us and Miles was anxious to go back to the park, proper, to meet them. But we did climb over 2000 feet up the rocks to enjoy views of both the San Fernando Valley and a valley behind us where we could see the still-used railroad tracks of the Pacific Surfliner (Amtrack) as well as the road that real Stage Coaches used into the 1920's and I think beyond.
Once Eric & Gabby arrived, we determined that it was too late for them to enjoy yet another hike. It was about to rain, so we decided on another adventure later into the day. Yes, an urban hike at the Northridge Mall! Gabby did well there, we all had lunch, and oh, what a pleasant family day it was.
Eric & I have committed to provide the kids who are willing to participate - Gabby & Miles mostly - regular family outings where they can see and go to a lot of places they formerly couldn't because as a single father of four, he just didn't have the time. As tough as my own childhood was (oy, don't ask), one of the things I am grateful for is that my parents DID get me around the Los Angeles area and even to other parts of the country. As our children's lives as well as our own become more organized and less chaotic, we are determined to allow our kids (Marsha, if you're reading, I know you're their real mother and I am not and never will try to usurp your role, but I love them too and admire you for bringing such wonderful people into the world. I can't love them as much as you but I do love them and want the best for them as you do) the same opportunities that I remember enjoying.