Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch watching the Olympics, and suddenly I heard the door to the garage fly open and slam shut. Then I heard what sounded like a herd. Evan ran past the couch on his way upstairs shouting, "This is my friend, Parker, we're going to get stuff." And the herd ran upstairs.
Now, we know Parker. He lives across the street and a couple of houses down, and he's only a couple of weeks younger than Evan. This was the first time the boys had really played, though. I think they are finally old enough to make neighborhood friends. Pretty soon, they came flying back past followed by the same slamming door. Brad was out working in the garage, and Issa was playing out front with her neighborhood friends, so I settled back in to watch more skating.
A few minutes later, I hear the same slamming of doors and a bigger herd: "This is Henry. We need more stuff," and three little boys went thundering up my steps. Henry is two weeks younger than Parker and lives three doors down. The herd slammed back outside briefly before they came slamming back inside: "We need marshmallows! We're all making marshmallow guns with Daddy!"
This got me off the couch. I found the marshmallows and followed the herd outside. Parker's mom and Henry's dad were waiting in the garage and sure enough there were big plans for marshmallow guns. I wish I had grabbed my camera. Brad was masterful as he helped the boys cut PVC pipe and fit the pieces together. All the parents were laughing as we watched three little boys shoot marshmallows across the yard.
The impromptu block party led to all manner of skateboards and balls and bicycles strewn across yards. The girls and boys played while parents chatted and stopped the occasional bad idea (mostly from the boys). It was beautiful. As the temperature started to drop, we sorted out what belonged to which house and made plans for many more block parties and we dragged very tired children home.
We've always been grateful that Issa had neighborhood friends and a network of parents watching, and now it appears that Evan will have the same thing. And watching these boys, I think it's going to take a village to watch over this orneriness.