The New Waterford Village Park- it’s not state-of-the-art and it’s not the next big up and coming thing. It’s a small park in a one stoplight town with a big metal slide and playground gadgets that have been a part of the landscape since at least the 1990s. Certain aspects of the park have been updated since Josh & I were kids, but a lot of it is holding on from years past. Years when my sisters & I walked there with our parents from our first home as a family on Allendale Avenue (we moved from that house to my parents’ current house in the country when I was 10). Years when Josh & his brother & sister played there, too. Years when we rode our bikes there. Years when our friends caught “huge” fish in the pond. Years when the sliding board was a bit too high for my littlest sister at first, but after awhile, she got the courage to try it. Years when a big group of kids would gather at the basketball court for pickup games. Yes, the New Waterford Village Park probably isn’t something that would appear in a magazine, but here I am writing a blog post about it. It holds a special place in Josh’s & my heart.
Many years ago, little Josh played there. He played his heart out. He got sweaty, dirty, and out of breath. Many years ago, little Danielle played there. She played her heart out. She got sweaty, dirty, and out of breath. We’re not sure whether we ever crossed paths there as kids. Maybe someday Josh was sliding down the sliding board and Danielle was twirling around on the tire swing. It’s more than possible.
Fast forward to the day we met in May 2005. Our mutual friends’ band was playing & we both showed up at Mark’s Landing to watch. After the show, I saw Josh talking with two of my friends I’d known since elementary school. I wondered who THIS guy was & why I’d never met him before. So I smiled, stuck my hand out, said, “Hi, I’m Danielle,” and shook Josh’s hand. Once we got to talking that night it was hard to stop & we realized we had SO much in common that it was downright unbelievable that we hadn’t met yet. Here’s what we realized that night: my sister went to preschool with Josh, our dads worked together for a few years when we were young, we had a lot of the same lifelong friends, we both went to Kent State University, the previous semester we had lived in neighboring dorms, our families lived about 8 minutes apart, and the list goes on. We were both puzzled as to why we hadn’t met until then with all of those things in common. But you know what? Looking back on it now, we met at exactly the right time for us. We firmly believe that God brought us together with perfect timing.
If we had met earlier than we did, neither of us would have been single. In fact, one of our mutual friends was pestering us all of the time when he knew we both lived at Kent that we should hang out sometime. We both politely declined our friend (not knowing who one another even were at that point anyway) because we were both dating other people at the time.
So here’s our advice to you if you’re still looking for your forever love: wait until you find the person whom you can’t imagine living without. Never settle in matters of the heart. If you’re currently dating someone who doesn’t fill your heart with joy, it’s probably time to reevaluate. We know it’s scary to imagine being alone! Believe us, we do! But once you finally meet that person who makes you laugh, who truly cares about you, whom you couldn’t imagine living without, you’ll understand that the wait was worth it & you’ll understand why taking a risk and being single was worth it, too.
Maybe your love has been living two streets over from you for the past six months, but you haven’t met yet. Maybe he’s currently living halfway across the world. Maybe you’ll meet online. Maybe you’ll meet at a coffee shop. Maybe your paths will cross while you’re walking your dogs. Who knows? But that’s really the beauty of it. And God’s timing is always exactly right.
Little Josh playing on the New Waterford Village Park playground could’ve never imagined meeting Danielle at Mark’s Landing one day. Little Danielle swinging on that tire swing or catching crawfish in the crick would’ve never in her wildest dreams thought she’d be back at that park where she played as a little girl with her husband who played there, too, now with their daughter. Josh & I both vividly remember one of our first dates playing catch with the softball at that park. We also both vividly remember the day that Josh proposed to me in the gazebo at the park, both of our noses rosey with the chill of the March day. We both remember when we had some of our engagement photos taken there since it was such a special spot to us. And now we’ll make more memories there with our baby.
Thank God for his timing and for his perfect plan.
The day we got engaged at the park in March 2010:One of our engagement photos (by Inlux Photo) at the park in June 2010:An afternoon at the park with our daughter in September 2015.