I've been reminiscing about my childhood a lot lately. This was sparked by going to Incredible Pizza with our friends, Tara and Andy. Generally accepted as a kid's place, Incredible Pizza has the appeal of a Chuck E Cheese: food, games and winning tickets for cheap prizes. (Ironically, we went to Incredible Pizza to celebrate Tara and Andy's engagement. Congratulations, you two!) While I am clearly not a child anymore, it certainly is fun to take a step back and remember what it was like to be a kid.
One of the things I really miss is hanging out with the neighborhood kids. We were a small group: me, my sister, Bridget, Jason, Brian and occasionally Jennifer or Scott. On warm summer nights, we would gather at Brian and Jason's house to play Kick the Can or Hide-and-Seek in the dark. To fully prepare for one of these outings, we really had to plan ahead. Clothing had to be dark, preferably black with no writing. Tennis shoes were required. And it was best to play when there was a partial moon (to provide adequate light, but not too much). Being the youngest (and a girl) I was always chosen last for teams. But I didn't mind. I was just happy to be included. When we tired of running around in the dark, we would retire inside to play cards or a multi-day-long game of Monopoly. This went one for a couple of years before we outgrew each other; Jess, Brian and Bridget went off to college, and the rest of us got wrapped up in our own lives.
Growing up is inevitable. But it’s also exciting and liberating. My favorite things about being an adult (in no particular order): eating ice cream whenever I want, having sick and vacation days at work, the choice to go to bed late and sleep in, independence, having multiple kinds of friends (which seem so much more concrete than those I had when I was a kid), and choosing where to live, work, play, sleep and pray. At the same time, a little piece of me misses those summer evenings with the neighborhood kids.
(Anyone up for a game of Kick the Can?)