Last summer some socially adept neighbors invited us to join their Neighborhood Recess gathering in the field behind our house. It was a wonderful idea, and Aden enjoyed it a great deal, but I usually had to stay behind with Quinn who found it intimidating, and sometimes Mona if she wasn’t feeling up to it. When Ian returned from Iraq he was able to enjoy a few rounds of Neighborhood Recess before it ended in the fall.
About a week ago Aden and I were talking about it, and wondering if
we should take up the initiative ourselves this year to get Neighborhood
Recess going again because we missed it. But as it happens, the
neighbors who put it together before emailed me the next day saying they
were ready to do it again, and did we want to join them? Of course we
Neighborhood Recess is a gathering of kids and their parents to play
games in the field behind our house for an hour in the evening once a
week. Anyone can join, even kids who happen to be wandering by and just
think it looks fun. It’s informal and silly and a nice way to get to
know other families in the neighborhood.
The field isn’t directly behind our house, it just seems that way.
There is a parking lot between us and the field, but since nothing
obstructs our view it feels like it’s right outside the back gate.
Here’s the view from the terrace outside my girls’ room.
‘Welcome Home’ mural (for when Ian came back from the second deployment), and beyond that is the field.
We also played a name game, animal races, and poison dart frog. That
one was new to me, and it’s kind of like ‘Murder!’ for the kid crowd. A
detective stands in the middle of the circle of players and tries to
figure out the identity of the poison dart frog. The poison dart frog
is a person who sticks his or her tongue out at other people in the
circle causing them to fall over dead. (The best moment was when the
little boy chosen to be the frog announced loudly to a kid across the
circle, “I killed you!” which made the detective’s job that round rather
Last year Neighborhood Recess was primarily Aden’s thing. Mona was
nervous about it and just skirted the edges of the activity, and Quinn
wanted nothing to do with it. This year at the first gathering Mona was
all over everything right along with her sister, and Quinn, after
initially staying glued to one of my legs, eventually warmed up and let
go of me long enough to do the animal races. He was always the last one
to get across the field moving like a frog or a kangaroo or a
salamander, but he was happy. Quinn’s a shy little fellow, so I was
glad to see him throwing himself into the crowd for a change, even if
that crowd was pretending to be monkeys.
I admire people who are able to organize successful events. We get
so wrapped up in all of the activities in our own house we have trouble
remembering to look up and invite others in as often as we should.
Things like Neighborhood Recess make me glad I live where I do, and that
we were able to move into a larger house
without changing who our neighbors are, because we are surrounded by
awfully nice people. I’m glad Neighborhood Recess is back.