It started a year ago on a walk, when my fraternal twin sons (5 years old at the time) asked why the city didn’t decorate Library Park. It seemed, to them, the park could use some holiday spirit and dressing up. My one son, Beau, right then and there, started designing his own vision for the park: lights and garland all around the gazebo, lights in the other trees (specifically magic Irish shooting star lights like we always see when we visit our Irish Family), and, of course, one of the pine trees fully lit and decorated. Our very own Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in the middle of El Segundo.
We had only been residents of El Segundo for a few months and it had been a lot of transition for my little family of four – new house, new neighborhood, new school and the loss of our beloved 16 year old dog, Roxy – and that was on top of some other hardships we had experienced. We definitely needed a holiday boost. Since I knew I needed to speak to the city, but didn’t really know where to start, I posted the idea and question on the El Segundo Parents Network Facebook Page – the place where you can find out about anything and everything, good and bad, that happens in El Segundo. A few very special neighbors, who I now consider friends, contacted the City Council and the Mayor. Within days the gazebo had some lights and plans were in the works for an even bigger and better display in 2017.
On December 2, Beau’s vision became a reality. Our boys were able to stand on the stage, in front of our El Segundo community and the amazing crowd that came to celebrate, and Mayor Fuentes graciously told their story: how they had an idea, how that idea grew into an entire design by Beau, and how an entire community, including our incredible Park and Rec team, came together to make it happen.
It was an amazing turnout. It was like our own personal little Hallmark Movie – how a town came together to make a little boy’s dream come true. A little boy, Beau, who at 3 years old took a freak fall down stairs and suffered a severe concussion and has spent the last 3 years learning to talk again, learning to understand language again, relearning how to regulate his behavior when his brain isn’t connecting properly and he’s frustrated. A little boy who has dealt with severe anxiety because in the blink of an eye he wasn’t like the other kids anymore. A little boy who was finally able to find all the words and ask for lights and garland and for the big pine tree to be decorated, in his new neighborhood across from his new school.
And when I remember that post I made on ESPN and how quickly so many helped me, a newbie to the town, get in touch with the Mayor and see that lights were quickly strung as a start, I realize this story truly is about a child’s heart and the gift of community and pure grace.
This story IS El Segundo. It’s why we call this hidden gem home. THAT is worth celebrating. Every single day of the year.