“Can we please just stay out here and play with our friends today?
We haven’t seen them in forever and we just want to play."
This is what my son said to me when I called out to him to come inside from his lunch break.
Let me start by saying that these friends he’s speaking about are our rear neighbors. They play with each other through the high wooden fence. Just sneaking glimpses here and there between the cracks.
I’ve watched them try to make a game of hide and seek work through a wooden fence.
I’ve watched them bend rules of games in ways that the fence becomes part of their games.
I’ve seen them try so, so hard to make anything work, as long as they can play with each other.
This is when it occurred to me- just how much my kids miss socializing. This is how much they miss running around. Throwing snowballs in the air. Making jokes and laughing out loud with kids like themselves.
This is how much my kids miss being kids.
I won’t lie and say I said yes right away. Because the guilt of having the teachers show up for my children while my children are playing outside just didn’t sit right with me.
But as I sat there and watched them through the window, listening to their laughter and seeing the joy in their eyes.
I didn’t have the heart to take this moment away from them.
I didn’t have the heart to keep nagging for them to come inside.
I didn’t have the heart to bring them back to this screen that they’ve been glued too for much more than any of us would like.
And I understood their frustration.
I understood their pain of missing friends and craving the slightest interaction, even if it was through a wooden fence.
I recognised their desperation to have any human contact outside of our circle, and I would be uncaring not to allow it.
So, I let them be, just as they’d asked.
Because my kids are just asking to be kids.
Playing and laughing with their friends whom they’ve missed so dearly, even if it is through a wooden fence.
Because a little happiness during a dark time is like a much-needed breath of fresh air.
They’re trying so desperately making the best of a shitty situation.
Why would I want to stop that?