When I was a kid, I had to be home when the street lights came on in the neighborhood. My mom threw us out the door in the morning and we came straggling back for lunch, maybe, more like when the fireflies announced themselves just before the ominous buzzing of the big florescent stopwatches. Winter Break was a series of snowball fights – if we were lucky enough to get snow over Christmas in Maryland – or if not, most definitely a playfest with all the new toys from Santa.
Declan has been home with me going on two weeks and he has played with a friend once. We had to do a bunch of finagling around schedules, the whens and wheres, to make it happen.
We also live fairly close to downtown, so I have yet to release Declan to the wilds of our ‘hood. At his age, I was free to roam, with or without my bike. But it’s just been in the last year or so that we even let Declan play in the front yard alone, or maybe run across the street to play with the only child on our block his age.
Of course, I didn’t ride a city bus until I was nearly 20 – Declan did that on a Kindergarten field trip.
It is interesting that our experiences are so different; everyone says it is the sign of the times.
But, I had gross dudes approach me in that neighborhood where I was free to roam. Back then. When things were supposed to be safe.
Of course, we also over-schedule our children now; they are running from one appointment to another constantly.
This is so true, in our family at least. I am constantly looking at my phone and calculating how much time I need till the next thing, how much can I fit in. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and be some floppy aristocrat who spent have the day getting dressed and the other half listening to music. But then I would have to corset, and that would never do, of course.
Point being, I long for calm, and I know my son does sometimes too.
So, sometimes I purposely don’t schedule things and let him goof off. Do whatever.
Sure, yesterday he watched about 8 hours straight of Looney Tunes on YouTube.
But he doesn’t do that every day. I try my best to find the middle ground. Some days playdates. Some days a book. Some days cleaning the house (he loves that one). And yes, some days vegging in front of the TV.
And then I sit and think, how will it be for him when he grows up? Will he look back and wish he had been able to run around in the streets like a maniac? Catch fireflies at dusk like I did? Will it influence where he decides to live? How he raises his children?
No clue, but he will be interesting to watch.