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The place to be

The place to be

After what seemed like half a month of rain, we’ve had some pretty good weather these last few days, which means that my backyard inevitably becomes the neighbourhood playground.

I’m not sure why this is the case. We don’t have any fancy toys or equipment, just an old playhouse and a couple of swings. There are several houses within walking distance that have far nicer playhouses, several with trampolines, one with some skateboarding equipment, and one even with a zipline down from the top of the garage. You wouldn’t think that our yard would offer much competition, but any nice day it’s a guarantee that I’ll have a yard full of kids.

Yesterday, for example, my eldest brought two friends home from school to work on their D&D characters at the picnic table, my middle son brought home a friend to skateboard on the sidewalk, and my youngest brought home two friends to play guns with sticks (I know, old school). Then the little girl from next door came over to swing, and the little guy who lives in our basement apartment came up to play with her, and our neighbour from down the street brought her two kids over.

It was crazy. At one point, I poked my head out from making supper, just to check on everything, and there were 12 kids and two parents in the backyard. The noise was deafening. The mess left behind was substantial. But the fun they had was worth it (as I keep reminding myself when the cleanup time comes).

Sure, we went through a huge bag of corn chips, a jar of salsa, a jar of cheese salsa, a bunch of bananas, and who knows how much other fruit. Sure, I had two dozen dirty water glasses sitting by the sink before we even got to the supper dishes. Sure, I spent half an hour supervising the kids as they cleaned up the mess in the backyard.

Despite all that, the kids were outside, playing with friends, being active, being social, and having fun. I know that times are coming (not too far off) when they won’t be hanging around our place anymore. They’ll have other things to do and other places to be. I’m not even very sure why they still like to hang out here, but as long as they do, they’re welcome.

Having them around and having fun is infinitely worth the hassle. I know I’ll look back on sunny days in the future and wish that my yard was once again the place to be, so I’ll enjoy it while I’ve still got it.