Thursday, January 21, 2010

Play dates

Did we have play dates as kids? I don't think we called it that. I just remember my first best-friend Erin calling me to see if I could come over and play, and I either hopped on my bike or walked over to her house a block away. No one walked me over there or called to make sure I arrived safely. And I don't even remember if her parents were there or not. We pretty much went down into her basement and stayed down there for a few years. We made up dances and sang rock songs and walked to Eckerd's Drugstore to buy candy and slid down her basement stairs in sleeping bags and built forts and ate bean dip and played hide and seek and danced in the basement some more. We just played, and played hard. Eventually we each found other friends, went to different schools, found different interests, etc. But I remember clearly our years of being the best of friends - we couldn't have been more than 5 or 6 I don't think. Eventually I lost touch with Erin completely. Until Facebook came along and I found out she was living in Lubbock and owned her own business, and that we even overlapped a year living in the same city (Seattle) a few years back. It is fun to find an old friend, and remember how much fun we had when life was so very easy and so very carefree.

I see my son finding this path in life right now. He's just started having independent play dates. He goes to play at a friend's house, or a friend comes to our house, and as a parent, I'm not involved at all except to drive the car, make the snacks and insure that no one is leaping off the loft bed. Pretty easy stuff. The kids just play and have fun and try and ignore that I'm around . Very different than a year or so ago when I still supervised play dates like a hawk for fear someone (ok my someone) would bonk another child in the head.

Just a few weeks ago Jackson informed me that his friend Lanae and he had exchanged numbers and were going to have a play date. Sure I said, no problem. I didn't really expect that he had given her my cell phone number. Sure enough, Saturday rolled around and a call came through for him -- from a girl -- and it was Lanae. And he was invited over for his first official un-mom-supervised play date. And he had a ball. And the following weekend Lanae came to our house to play, sans parents. And yesterday his friend Keenan came over to play after school. It is a whole new world opened up to him! And you know what, it is a whole new world for me, too. I actually worked while he played! A novel idea. And the kids even included Holden, too, who felt especially mature playing with two fun fiver year olds. And the only thing I was needed for was snacks, driving and to stop the jumping off of the loft bed. Which got me thinking - - did Erin's mom know we were sliding down the basement stairs in sleeping bags? I doubt it.

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