My kids haven’t been on a playdate in years.
You see, in my neighborhood, kids are still free to play in the day time. They usually don’t have schedules that keep them running from activity to activity until they fall into bed exhausted. For the most part, they must entertain themselves. You know, find something to do.
Maybe it’s the location or perhaps it’s the bad economics in the area. I’m not sure, but I do know, we don’t really schedule playdates.
I kind of like it that way, because “playdate” makes me break out in a cold sweat.
It leaves me with the impression of clean houses, healthy snacks, and a safe environment that fosters play, imagination (but not too much imagination), and some sort of learning.
Here’s how it works around these parts.
You may not even be out of your pj’s before the knocks come. My door gets knocked on every single day, usually multiple times a day, so I’ve come to know certain knocks.
With each passing hour, the house fills with more kids until you kick them all out to go on a bike ride or something. Then you search the back of the cabinets and rustle up some of food for lunch. It could be anything. They aren’t picky. Just be sure it’s a lot, because thirteen year-old boys eat more than their weight in food.
Every so often, you yell at them to get their stinky feet off your couch pillows or to lower the volume before your head explodes into a thousand little pieces that you will most certainly make them clean up.
You tell them to watch their potty-mouths before you get a bar of soap.
And you say, “Only one cup.”
Then you repeat.
It’s like a weird mantra that saves you from having a sink full of dirty dishes and no clean glasses when all you want are a few drops of water.
You know they “get it” when at dinner, they jump up and retrieve a cup from sink saying, “This one was mine!”
Yesterday my son thanked me for putting up with all the kids that flow in and out of my house. The truth is, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Sure they get on my nerves sometimes, but I like knowing who my children are hanging with. I like that I don’t even have to vacuum the floor before they all pile in and make themselves at home. I like that I don’t have to schedule playdates into my calendar or worry about if my kids are feeling bored and lonely.
All I need to worry about is how I’m going to fit them all in the truck when we want to go swimming.
You can say we live in a Mayberry of sorts, only Mayberry probably didn’t have abandoned buildings, burned out houses, paint chipped porches, and people selling drugs. I kind of doubt they had playdates either, so maybe we are in Mayberry.
So tell me, how do playdates work in the rest of America?
Do you love them or hate them, or maybe you live in your own Mayberry??