Neighborhood Friends

One of the things I love about our neighborhood is all the kids on the street. It’s reminiscent of when I was a kid and would run the neighborhood from morning till dusk, riding my bike or roller skating or playing a neighborhood game of hide and seek.

True things are a little different now. My kids don’t really leave our street which limits the bike riding, but it’s a quiet street and they can run from house to house playing games or hanging out on swingsets. However, I’ve never really been able to let Peanut run with the others without some sort of adult supervision. Not being the outdoorsy type myself, this has posed some problems. I prefer to get some things done while the kids are outside.

In the beginning this really wasn’t a problem. Peanut was relatively happy hanging out inside with me while her sister went over to friends’ houses. Last summer it got to be more of a problem, but at least we had the backyard she could play in. Unfortunately, that wasn’t usually good enough, and for reasons I’ve yet to really understand, my backyard is not the backyard of choice for the neighborhood kids. 

As we entered spring this year, I started letting Peanut go into the front yard with Diva, her 8 (soon to be 9) year old sister and the other kids. Usually I made the teen go out also just to supervise. Gradually, however, we have started letting Peanut and Diva go out on their own. In the beginning they had to stay in our yard and any friends who wanted to play had to come to our yard as well. Usually they would only play outside for about 30 minutes.

Last night however, I threw caution to the wind and let the girls run the neighborhood as I have the older two girls since they were about Peanut’s age. For a while they played down the street at a friend’s house. At one point the whole group of kids came up to our house; Peanut in the midst of them all with a toy sword “getting” this kid or another. As I watched I was happy to see she was just one of the kids. She wasn’t treated differently. She wasn’t limited because of her lack of speech. She was accepted into the fold and was having a great time.

The girls played outside for over an hour until it was time to come in to get ready for bed.

It was a great day and I look forward to many more nights where Peanut gets to join the neighborhood friends for games and summer fun.

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