There is something both tiring and exciting about watching children play together. Whether on a playground or inside, it seems to be a combination of chaos, energy, terror and thrill that is hard to describe.
As I am writing this, I am watching my son play at a place here in town called Hide and Seek. If you want a great place to let your kids off the leash and just have fun, this is the place to do it. I bring him here frequently enough that the owner knows me and will make it a point to come over and say hello.
When I say I am watching him, it is more like I occasionally see a streak run past that I have a suspicion is my son, then he is gone. Occasionally I will hear his voice, barking out commands or orders to the gang that he has organized in the ball pit or up in the various places that he can hide.
Occasionally he will grant me a short visit to announce that he has to pee, or that he needs a drink of water or tea. Then, like magic, or like some mysterious wraith, he is gone again.
The funny thing about Gideon is that you always know where he is, or that he is nearby. His voice is pretty powerful for a six-year-old. He is also not shy about making himself known.
I can sit here, watching him play, and know that he is not going to let too much happen to him. That he will stay mostly safe and not hurt other children either. More importantly I know that he is having a great time. Making friends, even if they are only kids that he will know for this short visit.
Finally, there is the comfort in knowing that when we are done with this visit, which usually lasts about two to three hours, he will be thoroughly exhausted and that he will probably sleep well tonight when he lies down to sleep.
So this is a win-win for us all and a little entertainment for me. Getting to watch him be a crazy kid for a while.