There is not much that can match the joy of childhood. Do you remember those endless dusky nights during the summer, playing with all the neighbourhood kids? Knowing with childish abandon that the ever-revolving games of hide n’ seek, tag, kick the can and red rover blend in to one another, ceaselessly offering nothing but pure fun? Kids ebb and flow in the mix, some vanishing for a few days on their family holiday, others appearing as cousins of your friends down the block. Friendships are instant, intense and immeasurable. Slaps on the back contrive grimaces and laughter from that sunburn you got at the lake that day. Skinned knees from that tumble down the bank off your bike shout at you while crouching behind the neighbour’s fence, giggling impatiently at whoever is It to finally find you. Arguments occur and are solved in minutes: shouts of anger evolve into agreements about the ever-changing rules of that game of the moment. July lasted forever. August silently crept in and hung around for eternity. School just wasn’t in our minds. Only the next day, or that night’s impromptu sleep-over, or the fact that the new boy smiled at you in a way that made your 12 year old heart beat a little funny. No cares in the world. Endless supplies of popsicles and watermelon. Flip-flops grooved to your own unique footprint. Bathing suits worn for days on end. Waterfights. Baseball. Bike rides. Best friends forever.
My joy now is in hearing that my kids are having a fantastic childhood. Last week, the neighbours’ grand kids came for their visit. They come quite often and know where my kids are. We can always count on all the kids having a blast together.
This year, though, two other grand kids came to stay. From Australia!! I was amazed but not really surprised to see how fast everyone bonded and became instant best friends. Water fights lasted until dark. Laughter and shrieks of joy filtered through the fort to my ears. I tried not to eavesdrop, but as a Mom, hearing my kids having the time of their life gave me some kind of justification. To hear how much fun they all were having and to know that these are such precious memories they will think of often with incredible fondness….well, it brought tears to my eyes.
I didn’t eavesdrop for long. Truly, it is their experience to enjoy. Apart from offering freshly-made cinnamon buns to an astonished Australian girl who was blown away that I had actually made them, I knew my place was in the house. So that they could have their own adventures, their own endless fun during these eternal dusky summer nights.