When we arrived home from Africa we were still without a theme for the twin’s 13th Birthday celebration just 10 days away. We had props (some games) and a vague idea of the menu (something simple), but no theme. When people asked about the subject I shrugged, smiled sheepishly, and said “no theme, just a small gathering”. This response often took the questioner by surprise. It is fairly well known that I am a big fan of party themes. But, given that we had just returned from a big trip, had a houseful of guests we wanted to enjoy, and a short runway to plan the party, I thought themeless was a perfectly respectable way to go.
Five days later, we took our houseguests to lunch at Salt on Shelter Island. This restaurant is my new favorite place to dine out on a summer day. It is worthy of it’s very own post, and if you have a group would suggest you go. They even take reservations on OpenTable, unlike some other beach chic Shelter Island restaurant I used to favor.
Our group was 6 adults and 4 kids. The latter part of the group zoomed quickly through their lunch and quietly left their table that was next to ours. These days when you turn around to look for the kids, you are often sadly presented with kids sitting under a tree staring at their devices. But on this day, on this day, I turned to find the 2 almost 13 year olds, one newly turned 13 year old, and one 10 year old playing a mean game of red light/green light on the lawn adjacent to the restaurant.
My daughter (and her maturing body) was wearing my shirt and shoes that we shared to justify the cost. My son had on his father’s flip flops and towered over the 10 year old. But these edging towards adulthood bodies were being controlled by their still quite childlike brains. When they froze at the red light command they didn’t budge or blink. They were stone faced and unmovable. As it goes with the game, you eventually make it to the caller and here they collapsed on the ground laughing and frolicking like puppies.
It was such a treat to watch them play. I didn’t say anything to the rest of the group. I just snapped one not very good photo and smiled in the direction of the frolicking children. It was my favorite part of the day.
Perfect! Perfect as a nod to their lives tipping away from play to the more serious business of growing up. Ideal as a green light message to them that they live in a household that will always endorse and cling to the important notion of play. Our children are growing up. I get that, but there’s no need to rush it. So, in the meantime and for all time: Let’s Play.
More on the details of the Let’s Play party coming soon. It was one of the easier and most fun parties we’ve ever hosted.