As if my children were not punishment enough for my own childhood excursions… I have found myself blessed with the nearly constant presence of Neighbor Girl and Neighbor Boy.
Neighbor Boy is a charming, and quite handsome boy of five. Neighbor Girl is a quiet and very pretty four-year-old. Er. At least she is quiet until she gets to know you a little bit…
She then has no qualms about sitting on your front step screeching at the top of her lungs.
There have not been many warm days yet this year, and already they have done a number on the yard.
Neighbor Girl likes to dig.
In the yard.
Probably her parents do not allow her to dig holes in her yard, so she digs them in ours. Cadence is her accomplice. Cadence brings spoons outside to Neighbor Girl. There are dozens of spoons hidden in our grass. I find them with the lawnmower.
Neighbor Boy can’t be much more than 50 pounds.
He likes to climb.
The fence in our backyard is sturdy. It has concrete and stuff around the posts.
Somehow? Neighbor Boy knocked one section down. They have also destroyed the net thing around the trampoline.
If I had more ambition, I would supervise these children a bit more. Their parents probably hate me. They go home covered in mud and dirt and grass, with splinters in them from scaling the fence.
Neighbor Girl once went home covered in nail polish. Covered. Her hands…all the way up to her elbows and her feet… all the way up to her knees. In addition to being red? She was probably high from the fumes. Which is simply what happens when you attempt to paint a frog with nail polish.
That is a whole different chapter.
Art gets mad, I think. He claims that I have no control over Neighbor Girl and Boy. He said that as though it should bother me. I have no control over my own damn kids,
I am certainly not shocked by my lack of control over other people’s kids. And all that aside?
I am pretty sure that this is what childhood summers are all about. Not so much the frog painting…but the hours of barely supervised play. That intensity that only children feel, when nothing in the world matters as much as seeing just how far one can dig in a day.
I let them dig.
I let them climb.
I let them play in the hose.
I pretty much let them do what they want out there.
Fences can be repaired.
There is only one childhood.
And for them?
There is only this day, this moment that matters.
When they are grown?
They will remember these feelings one day. I do. I don’t remember what our grass looked like, whether or not we had a fence, or how long it took to fill the holes in my yard….