When I was a kid, the entire neighborhood hung out at our house. I think this occurred for two reasons:
1) My parents were cool and embraced a gaggle of kids tromping through our garage and back yard.
2) We didn’t have too many other options.
The Martins owned a funeral home and that spooked those of us not in the business of dead. Mr. McDonnell had been in Vietnam, and he ran his house like a marine platoon. If Tracy didn’t get home in time to feed Viking, their horse sized greyhound, he’d put her butt on restriction for a week.
Mr. Mask was a principal, and no one was interested in that. Glenn Fair’s parents were older and perhaps agoraphobic ’cause we lived in that neighborhood for seven years and I only saw his mom once.
There were the Appletons who were very nice, but I’m fairly certain they were high a significant amount of time.
In the summer, the kids would congregate in our garage, sometimes before my brother and I even got up from the breakfast table. My mom would check on us periodically throughout the day and fairly regularly would bring out homemade popsicles. They’d melt faster than the candles at the Christmas Eve service – we had red Kool-Aid stains on our arms from June – September.
I want my house to feel like the home I grew up in. I want my kids and their friends to be comfortable coming over and hanging out.
Last week Stephanie finished middle school. She’s been at St. Timothy’s School for nine years. It’s a significant milestone for her – and for me too.
The school sponsored the eighth grade dance tonight. I’ve made it a habit to check in about a week prior to a big event to see how the pre-event social scene is stacking up. Sometimes there’s an invitation from another kid to get ready together at their house. Sometimes not.
When I think one my kids might be stuck flat ironing their hair with me or asking me if a particular pair of shoes looks good with a chosen dress, I start to panic. It’s then that I begin inviting kids to our house.
A babysitter was at my house late one afternoon when a pack of kids were coming over for a sleepover. She said, “My mom would never have allowed me to have a big sleepover.”
I guess that not all parents feel this desire or obligation to be a hub. But for some reason, I prefer it.
Maybe it’s because I never want my kid to feel left out. Perhaps it’s because I know Lisa would have done so. It could be I just saw it modeled and monkey see, monkey do.
It is really one of the easiest things I do – it cost me a couple of pizzas and some ice. But the return is a connection to my kids and to their friends which is priceless.
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