What’s this world coming to?
It was fucking anarchy. Kids coming to our cottage door at the resort we were staying at, seeing if my precious one was free to come out and play.
I looked at my calendar on my phone : “Did we have something scheduled?”
“No…” they replied sheepishly, kicking the dirt at the base of my stairs with the tips of their well worn sneakers.
“Well then…” I replied, almost gleeful in my righteousness.
“But can she?” they persisted.
“Well…” And just as I was about to start my finger wagging lecture on safety, a blur flew past me at the door, grabbing the kids by their hands and dragging them away. I didn’t see her again for three hours—though I heard her yells as they played capture the flag or tag.
I sat in my little cottage, sick with worry, until she came strolling in, declaring that intense thirst and the need for marshmallows were now taking priority.
Oh, what to do?
Okay, that’s not really what happened. What really happened was an experience like none other.
The resort was smallish and many of the cottages had families in them. By the second night, the kids were congregating on the main lawn after dinner to play whatever they felt like playing. We parents and grandparents hung out by the fire pit with plastic cups, containing our individual poisons. And it was bliss.
Every once in a while, I saw her blonde hair streak by. I heard her not easy to miss voice. And until about 10 pm every night, this was the deal: don’t go near the road or on the docks. Other than that, have fun.
She had so much of it. Fun, that is. No screens. No toys. Just imagination and mosquitoes. The freedom to run and play without having to check in every five seconds.
I didn’t know the other families before we arrived; I met them all at the pool or by the side of the fire pit.
Rightly or wrongly, I felt immediately comfortable knowing that this village was watching over all of our littles.
In an era of scheduling and hovering—something I am as guilty of as most any other parent—this week of retro style freedom will be one we both cherish in our memories for a long time to come.