Growing up, I remember summer evenings as long, carefree & full of outdoor fun with my brother and our friends.
Summer evenings now feel rushed & short, with little time for play. Commuting makes for late dinners. Late dinners leave little time before bed for 6 year olds.
Plus, it's Toronto. The big scary city. I've only recently been able to allow myself to let him go knock on the neighbour's door to ask for his friend. It's definitely a different world from that of my childhood, growing up in innocent St. John's- roaming the block and only coming in to eat when called. Or when the streetlights came on. Whichever I listened to first.
But we're in St. John's now for two weeks. And, although the city has grown up a lot in the last 3 decades. It feels safe here. And we're on the vacation clock, so time is not the issue it is at home.
Tonight we're at the playground behind my parents' place. Not the playground I played in, but one I've come to know through my nephews and now Little Boo. He's playing and making friends with neighbourhood kids and having a great time.
And guess what? I'm the only parent here. Some groups of teenagers have come and gone, playing frisbee or catch. But it's the 5-7 year old crowd that independently seem to own the park this evening.
And that feels good. It feels free and safe and right. The kids are playing and squabbling and working those problems out. I don't need to be here. They're doing just fine on their own.
Tomorrow night will I feel safe enough to let him come down here alone? I don't know yet. But maybe I'll try to grant him a little freedom. Maybe I'll walk down with him then go sit out on our deck. You know. Where I can hear him at least. If not always see him.