Saturday, June 21, 2008
We live in a townhouse complex that is filled to the brim with young children. There are several buildings, each with 7 units, and they are built around a big U with a lawn in the middle. In our building of seven units alone, one family has six kids, one family has four kids, and another has three.
And if you take a drive around our big cul-de-sac you might think you've travelled back in time, because not one of those kids is sitting inside watching TV or playing video games. They are all outside playing with one another. Different ages, different families, different genders. Doesn't seem to matter to them: they just play. In the winter they make snowmen and snow angels and snow forts. In the summer they draw pictures with sidewalk chalk and have bike races down the sidewalk. Don't have a bike? That's okay, you can borrow mine. They share their toys, they take turns nicely -- I hardly ever hear them fight. I think it's the nicest part of living where we do.
When Gracie was small, she desperately wanted to go outside and play with those big kids. She would stand at the front door and watch them. And after awhile, those big kids started to notice her watching, and would come and make funny faces for her, or blow bubbles for her to look at. Then, when she got good enough at toddling around, I started taking her outside and holding her hand as she made a bee-line for those other kids. "Hi Baby!," they would yell when they saw her coming. The smile on her face was enormous.
Now that she can get around on her own, some of the younger kids have started showing up at my door, asking if Gracie and I can come out and play. It makes my heart soar.
Today, we went outside and these two kids came over to say hi. The girl, Kimberley, remembered that Gracie had enjoyed drawing with sidewalk chalk a few days ago, and went to her house to get some for us. Gracie grabbed the chalk and plunked right down on our sidewalk and had a wonderful time drawing with the big kids. The little boy is named Kale, and whenever Gracie and I go outside he follows us like a puppy and talks and talks and talks; although I have to admit I only understand about half of what he says.
(Kale has a little sister named Emerson who is about five months younger than Gracie, and has started standing at her front door, watching all the big kids. Yesterday, Gracie and I blew bubbles for her.)