Just a year ago, two boys (and their mom) moved in at the end of our street. We met them one day as the boys and I headed to the court to practice riding Isaac’s bike without training wheels. The boys at the end of the street were already pros at two wheelers and doing circles around us as we practiced balancing. Within a week or two, Isaac was able to ride his bike with the other boys and they soon became friends.
We quickly crossed the boundaries of typical wave-when-you’re-at-the-mailbox neighbors, to neighborhood friends. Now on any given afternoon, the youngest neighbor boy will barge into our house and immediately ask for candy (which I willingly give him (just one) because the more they eat, the less we have just sitting around the house). During mealtimes, we have to lock our door, lest the boys walk in and choose to wait until we’re finished eating, thus distracting my boys from ever finishing their dinner.
What I love about the neighbor boys is that they are always outside. They love to play and explore and run around. That’s just what my kids need: opportunities to get rid of their endless source of energy. My boys spent a lot of time this summer down at the court, exploring the woods beyond and making up games and just having fun.
Last Friday, my boys gave Randall and me a gift. In a surprising change of events, Isaac was in a good mood when he hopped off the school bus Friday afternoon. He ran inside and ate a snack and asked us to come see what he’d been doing the last few weeks.
Randall and I gladly grabbed a few balls and headed to the court. We played a little tennis up at the subdivision clubhouse, then made a few shots in the basketball hoop. Then Isaac asked us to come see the places he’d found within the woods. The older neighbor boy found two little clearings within the trees and they decided they would call them “clubhouses.”
Isaac took us to see the biggest clubhouse first. It was a clearing just big enough for a couple of broken chairs and a few boards to sit on. Randall said that’d be the place the boys would go to drink in their teen years. Randall even told Isaac that one day he’d want to take a girl back here and makeout. I reminded Randall that Isaac had no idea what the term “makeout” means and he didn’t need to know. Isaac was fine with that. He was too distracted showing us the passages in and out of the small wooded area.
I’m not ready to think about the future. In Isaac’s mind, this place is an imaginary mansion. He kept calling it the “mansion clubhouse.” You don’t drink and makeout in a mansion (shhh… don’t tell me what you do in your mansion). In Isaac’s mansion, you sit on your throne and relax after a hard day of work.
Asher gave us a tour of the other clubhouse. It was much smaller, in a separate group of trees but had an emergency exit. I loved hearing all about the things my boys have been imagining. It made my heart smile.
Lastly, they brought us to a small vine, hanging off of a tree, where they could swing. Asher seriously started humming the theme to Indiana Jones.
When I let my boys into my world a little bit, something happens in our family. A bond is made and we all understand each other better. When my boys help me cook dinner, or when I tell them all about the book I’ve just read, we connect on a level that brings us all closer together. When my boys ask to hear about the stories I’m reading, or ask to be a part of my daily routine, I am overjoyed.
It was a gift, the boys gave us, to invite us into their little world. But I bet it is a gift when I ask them to show me what excites them, just the same. It’s something I never want us to grow out of, that’s for sure.
Isaac and Asher, please never stop including Mom and Dad in your adventures. Let us always in on the joy that you find. We love it!