Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Summer Holidays: Mine and Theirs

6 weeks of summer holidays are bearing down on us all at a rate of noughts.

When I was wee, the summer holidays were amazing; 6 (or sometimes 7) weeks of playing outside with my friends late into the night.

I was lucky - where I lived we were free to roam the streets, as the streets were quiet and there were barely any cars.  The houses were all knitted together and there were endless places to ride your bike or push a scooter or a skateboard or go rollerskating without bothering anyone.

We'd meet at the park - without the aid of text messages or phones and we all had watches on our wrists so that we knew when to come back home for tea.

Sadly, my own kids will never really know the joy of this kind of childhood.  It was pretty free.

We lived our lives in hours of imaginative play.  We made our own microcosm of the world in the small area in which we lived.

There were acorn fights (bad idea), games of football (great idea) and skateboard tours (amazing idea).

On wet days we put on our raincoats and all squeezed into our dens, our hideyholes, mainly in bushes or broken down fencing and pretend we were spies or that we had a huge club of detectives who only met once a month.

We had our best bestest bestesest ever friends and we had our sworn enemies.  We loved and lost.  We fought battles.  We played massive tournaments that went on for weeks.

We used stones to draw on the paving slabs and we used our jumpers for goal posts (inevitably someone always lost their jumper).

We ventured out of our zones too - we went to the beach. We cycled as far as we could.

I doubt our parents could have imagined that we went as far or did as much as we did, but we did it all, and without any adult supervision; you simply came home at the agreed time and then went out again until the next time-slot, often begging for 'just an extra half an hour, pleeeease?'

Times have kind of changed and where we live kind of isn't conducive to sending kids out. They'd have to walk up and down a 60mph country road to get anywhere good.  And when they got there, the chances of meeting any other kids are slim to none, seeing as it seems to be less of a thing to let your kids roam the streets.

When I was wee, my mum didn't go to work, so I never had to go to childcare and anyone who babysat was generally doing it because I was already at their house, eating their food and watching their tv, as they did at ours when they happened to disappear in with me for hours on end.

I never went to Out Of School Club. I never had a childminder.

I was so lucky that I was able to stay at home and play.

As my kids gear up for 6 weeks of chilling and eating and going to different childcare venues (and staying at home with us for sometime I might add - we had to use all of our holidays between us!) and getting all of these 'paid for' experiences, like face painting and cooking and going to play centres, I can't help feeling a bit jealous.

It would be very nice to have a long break and lots of fun things to do.

But I can't help feeling a bit sad too, that they aren't going to be racing their bikes at the park without adult supervision, that they won't be doing stuntman-worthy tricks on the swings or seeing how fast they can go on the roundabout without falling off.

Those were the best days of my life.

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