Remember those summer nights when, after supper, somehow word just got around the neighborhood (no phones, no texts, no FB) that "night games" would be at some house or another. And until bedtime, we'd run around with the neighbor kids, playing kick the can or whatever. It didn't matter if we liked each other, it didn't matter if you liked the game chosen, and sometimes even the older kids joined in. It's just what we did - virtually every night in good weather. I'm trying to gauge whether I enjoyed it or not ... I just remember doing it, I don't really remember it being fun, but it must have been or I would have stayed in I expect.
I can't imagine that now - we don't really know our neighbors and it would be inconceivable to just let the girls take off down the street until bedtime. We were so excited when a family with 2 children nearly the same ages as my kids moved in next door. But then those kids weren't allowed to come and play in our yard. I let my kids go to their yard, as long as the parent present says it's OK for them to be there, but I feel weird about it since they don't allow their kids in our yard. And I don't think it happened all last summer, but then when I was single parenting last summer, things were different and the girls and I were pretty insular. This year, when the kids are home with Sean all summer, I am curious whether they'll all branch out a bit. And one of these years, they will discover the freedom that comes with riding a bike - and how far it gets you out of a parent's watchful eye.