Ding Dong Ditch by Peggy Bogaard-Lapp

Summertime is such a fun time to let go of routine, and to relax attitudes. School starts in two weeks (two weeks!) and I find myself running through the list of projects I wanted to do on summer break. News flash: I have hardly done any of them! But on the other hand, I have spent lots of time with my daughter and husband. Today Erica and I spent the afternoon doing our nails, something a mother and daughter should do together. We sat on the front porch, under the shade of the maple tree, and pick our nail polish colors. I chose yellow (the label says banana but it’s more like butter) for my toes; Erica chose hot pink. I added a coat of gold sparkle. Erica wanted blue for her fingers and then had me write the letters of her name, one on each finger, in purple. I am amazed at her creativity, and sometimes I think she is too shy or reserved to do something like that – but she surprises me every day. You can probably understand the feeling of amazement when you watch your child learn and grow, and develop into who they are meant to be.

Tomorrow we are putting up a tire swing, something Erica has been begging for all summer. I sold her backyard swing in June, it was way too small for her and her friends to climb and swing on, and since then we have been discussing what to replace it with. We have settled on a tire swing (for now). What kid doesn’t like a tire swing? We can hang it from the high branch in the maple tree, and I see her using it way into October.

A few months ago I had a party for her and some friends, a “just because” party. It was to help her form stronger friendships with a few girls from school.  I let them play Ding Doing Ditch in our neighborhood. I remember the game as Ring & Run. You know it; ring the doorbell of a neighbor’s house and run away. THAT was a hoot watching them run around from house to house (several of them were vacant at the time) and run back, giggling like crazy. Several girls had never heard of such a thing, much less doing a brazen move like that. Only one neighbor actually came out to see what was going on, and he just laughed.

Kids just don’t get to do fun summer activities like we did. There are many reasons, and it’s hard to compete with an iPad sometimes. But just the freedom of making up the game on their own, and being able to decide what happens is important. How many of you have taught your kids to play tag, or Red Rover, or even just having a somersault contest?

Tonight, now that it’s getting dark a bit earlier, we are going to play hide-n-seek. I have the perfect place to hide out….. Any of you up for it? C’mon over!

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