Last night when I got home around 7, the kids were in the driveway playing basketball with superballs. My neighbors were out with their sweet little baby, and we stood there talking and dodging the superballs winging around our heads. I tried to get everyone to come in after John left, but it was still light and warm. The weather’s been weird; in the fifties one day, high eighties the next. Yesterday was hot and summery and it just felt right to stay out and play past bathtime. Nathan saw two long haired boys across the street playing touch football in the driveway with their dad, and he yelled EXCUSE ME? CAN I PLAY?
Within five minutes we were all over there, along with this little boy who is always out and always alone. He says he is six, and when I ask him why he doesn’t wear a helmet while he rides his scooter he says that he doesn’t have one.
I hadn’t met this family before, and liked the dad straight away as he let Sophie into the huddle and showed her the plans by tracing his fingers on his palm. We came back to our side of the street so we’d have a little more room, and another neighbor came home from work and stood with me, talking and watching the kids play. Her kids were at their dad’s, and we talked about how we really should all line up our weekends so that her kids, my older three kids, this dad’s kids and my other neighbor across the street’s kids were around on the same weekends this summer. Apparently we are the street where everyone has been divorced at least one time, except for the really nice young couple next door with the baby. We showed the girls how to do cartwheels and slapped at the bugs flying around. The dad from across the street spun the girls’ pink basketball on his finger and we all clapped.
The kids played football until it was too dark to see the ball. They made awesome catches, Sophie got really good at kicking off after touchdowns, and she even got a decent spiral on her passes. When we were getting ready to all go in for the night, the dad said This is exactly what I wanted, a neighborhood like this.