Some of my favourite memories growing up, were the days and the nights I spent outside of my front door. I grew up in the neighbourhood that I wish I could give to my children. It was amazing. The whole street was filled with neighbours that weren't just neighbours, they were our friends. We actually knew them all, and we loved them. Well, most of them;) We called all the parents Auntie and Uncle out of respect. We PLAYED OUTSIDE, from morning till night, rain or shine! With no parents in view!
Our culdisac was our ball hockey arena, it was where we skipped rope and where we learned to ride our bikes. It was where we traded stickers from the pages of our packed sticker books, (remember the scratch & sniffs, the puffies and the fuzzies.) and where we whispered about our daily/weekly crushes. It was were we prayed to hear the chimes of the Ice Cream Truck!
I always laugh when I think back to how each of the parents in our neighbourhood called us in for dinner. A whistle, a bell, a foghorn...my moms voice. (Haha!;) That was the only time you went inside on those summer days. You would eat as fast as you could so you could get back outside again. You always knew where your friends were, by the pile of bikes in a driveway. We played Tag and Kick The Can till the sun started to disappear behind the houses. We caught crickets, and gardner snakes from the field behind Greg's house. We built a treehouse. It was magic...pure magic.
We didn't have the internet or all these gaming devices. We didn't have a fear of being outside alone. We had fresh air and imaginations.
It makes me sad that my kids have never had the same. Don't get me wrong.They go outside to play all the time. They always have. To the parks, to their friends houses, it's just that I'm never too far behind them. This parenting thing is tough, and I was always so scared to let them walk down the street without me watching them go. I think I held them too tight when they were little. (I think sometimes, I still do) Maybe I suffocated them a bit. I think I should have given them a bit more independence when they were younger. (Even now.) But I adore them too much to let anything happen to them. The news is scary, and the stories you hear about "a missing child" is crippling. That's the balance that's so hard to find.
So here I am, with O'Shae 13 1/2 and Jayde 11 1/2 and I am still learning daily about this balance of keeping them safe, and letting them go to learn on their own, more like I did as a child. To simply go outside. Without me there. I'm working on it.
I hope one day, O'Shae and Jayde will look back on their days and nights spent outside as kids, and feel that same feeling I do when I look back...the only difference will be, their memories will always include their parents in view.