Last night my son had a softball game at a park out in the country south of Ottawa. There are 3 diamonds there, a playground, and large open space divided by forested area and a stream. It’s quite idyllic really. Since my daughter isn’t playing this year, she likes to go to the games just to hang out with the siblings of the other players. Luckily, she discovered that one of the other boys on the team has a sister her age. After only one game, they have become like two peas in a pod and completely inseparable for the full two hours of the game.
Within seconds of arriving last night, the two girls disappeared down to the stream. Occasionally they would pop up and then disappear again. I walked over to their preferred play area a few times and, at one point, found them with soaked shoes because they were collecting shells in the stream. They were so excited with their finds and could care less about their soaking feet. My heart soared just to hear the joy in their voices.
Remember there was a time when kids would spend their whole days like this? Only to return at dinner time, dirty and starving? I couldn’t go twenty minutes without craning my neck to catch sight of them. That’s the sad part. Like all of us parents these days, our watchfulness falls somewhere between between Awareness and Paranoia. But the good part is, they had no idea I was keeping an eye on them and they clearly loved the freedom they felt to roam and explore. THAT is what childhood should be all about.