Hitting the streets

Yesterday afternoon was kind of gloomy – looked like it might rain again. I figured we would play inside for the afternoon and I would start dinner early since it needed to cook in the oven for a while. However, our new friend stopped by to see if the kids wanted to play.

I think I’m going to call her the neighborhood social director. She is the 9 year old girl from across the street. We’ve been living here for over a year now and I’ve been watching her play with every kid in the neighborhood except for mine. She is always riding her bike around the block to see who is out playing. One street corner is practically a gold mine for her – 8 kids in one house. I’ve seen her there a lot and even at the house behind us. But never at our house.
A few weeks ago, she finally stopped by our house to meet our kids and play with them. I was starting to feel a little left out. Strangely, she decided to stop by when Pat was out in the yard playing with them. He came in the house to let me know that the kids had a new friend.
So yesterday the social director stopped by to see if Jack and Casey could come out to play. Which means that Mommy needs to go out and play. I would be comfortable if Jack went out to play with her by himself, but Casey is a full time job. She has a renewed affinity for the street. She realized that the slope at the bottom of our driveway is a lot of fun to ride down on her tricycle. So into the street she goes. Then she likes to drive over to the corner and play around on the curb and slope there. While I would prefer that she play in the driveway, there is a benefit to living between two cul-de-sacs. I keep my eye on her and down the street for cars but I let her play.
Luckily, it was warmer outside than I thought. The social director told us that she was going to get the kids from next door and bring them to our house to play in the driveway. She brought them over and also brought their soccer ball and net. They had never been to our house to play…they are a little older and it just seemed like we were never outside at the same time they were.
Thus began Jack’s first experience with team sports. They divided into teams of two to play soccer – one goalie and one player per team. Jack was a little confused as to how to get the ball at first. He just wanted to take turns and didn’t understand he had to try to kick the ball past a defender. He also refused to be goalie for a few minutes but when threatened to go inside, he came around.
From soccer they moved onto golf. Since they were taking turns, Jack enjoyed the game. We have a little putting green and they were all trying to hit it in the hole.
Finally they moved on to hockey and this is where Jack really shined. He had already kind of figured out how to play the game with other kids and he really had a great time trying to get the puck into the goal and playing goalie. And as his proud mother, I thought he did a great job as a goalie considering he was playing against a 4 year old, a 5 year old and a 9 year old.
I didn’t really mean to turn this into such a long story, but the overall point of it was that I felt like I watched him grow up before my eyes in that hour. He went from begging Mommy & Daddy to play hockey in the house to playing street hockey with the neighborhood kids. And I had a little vision of what it will be like in a couple of years when he and Casey are just out playing in the cul-de-sac with the other kids while I make dinner. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that when you’re putting the shoes back on Casey’s feet for the 5th time (because it really wasn’t that warm out) or chasing her down the street for the 15th time. The apple-rum pork chops never made it into the oven, but I had a lot better time watching my kids make new friends and new memories.