As a parent who grew up in the 70’s, I’m vexed by playdates. It’s disappointing that our society has evolved to a point where children have to rely on arranged appointments to play with friends. Even with the best intentions, playdates have effectively taken away the essence of childhood and the joys of discovering entertainment in neighborhood streets. Some of the fondest memories that Chris and I have as kids include spending the afternoon meandering from one friend’s house to another friend’s house, stopping at the corner store to buy slushies and chips, and then making a final stop at the park to play before dark.
In all of our previous communities, Kylee has succumbed to the fate of playdates. Here, of all places, she has attained the perspective of what childhood was like when Chris and I were her age. Kylee arrives home from school every day, abandons her backpack at the front door, and then disappears with her troop of friends until dinner. Later in the evening, when I empty her pockets (filled with rocks, money, Kino candy wrappers and ketchup packets) I’m thrilled to know that she is experiencing childhood the way that it was meant to be experienced.