Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fly around the neighborhood

My fret buster 
I fret and I'm pretty sure I was born fretting. 

I manage it, and I'm happy because when I don't fret at all, I'm more than happy, I'm joyous. 

During the school year, when I was ten or eleven,  I'd lie in bed upon waking and scan my inventory of worries; potential potholes in the road of the day ahead - unfinished homework, gym, a spat with a friend over the phone the night before - anything with which I might have to deal.  Especially gym.

Those mornings vanished in May when I woke to  mid-spring dawns - green, yellow and white - and felt like life was actually taller, bigger, wider. I went go to school knowing that, potholes or not, my stingray would be waiting for me in the driveway when I got home and I would fly around the neighborhood, looking at things I usually missed, feeling wind on my face, in motion, free.

Some things haven't and won't change and this is one of them:  summer is coming and children everywhere are counting down each hour in each of these last days of the school year like ye children of olde. Around here, you see little ones so energized by pretty mornings - the trailer for summer - they nearly skip down the sidewalks There are fewer jackets,  more bare legs and shorts, more sandals.  High school kids who have been wearing shorts and t-shirts since the beginning of March have finally stopped freezing.  In only a few weeks, many will be more worried about the forecast than anything else. 

I hope.

Children today lead busier lives, as our own children did. They're booked into summer programs and camps, their lives are organized, their days are rarely unplanned. We arrange for them to stay active and productive with daily structure that extends into the summer. 

To be sure, for many children, it is more than important, it's training. Like good manners and respect for others,  they'll need the concept of time management to be successful later.

And, to be sure, summer notwithstanding, many children deal with burdens  that they shouldn't have to and didn't ask for - poverty, absent or awful parents, household responsibility that is bigger than they are. (Note to fretful people: here is where you can make yourself more useful and less annoying to others).

Despite their daily realities and wildly varied lives, however,  some things haven't and won't change and one, in my experience as both a child and parent is this: children live their biggest, tallest, widest lives in the moments that they are allowed to imagine and anticipate - to fly around the neighborhood - as much as those for which they must show up.

My wish for children,  is that their daily realities and expectations don't rob them of the most heavenly thing that should come with childhood:  the joy of anticipating the unknown, on a beautiful morning when the day is new, when nothing good or bad has happened yet, when anything is possible, and:

The stingray waits in the driveway. 

To fly around the neighborhood.

1 comment:

  1. So true. I also think over-scheduling robs children of their innate nature to be creative and self-soothing.