Fortunate are those who live in a neighborhood where there are families with young children. The designers and builders of our apartment complex had children in mind when they imagined, then created this neighborhood around 40 years ago.
There is a magical time in late afternoon each school day (including preschool, of which there are several within the neighborhood and close by) when the children appear with their parents and minders in the play area near to our apartment. A depression in the pavement by one of the little park’s retaining walls is almost always filled with water from the light rains and morning dew. Toddlers and jumpers and seekers with pails and shovels, all properly dressed for the wet, of course, surround and splash in this natural pond. Others are in the sand box nearby, their adults joining them in digging and building. Still others are sliding and swinging in the appurtenances usually found in playgrounds.
Ice hockey (is there any other kind, really?) is a national sport in Sweden. A paved area, where cars and trucks can travel through, has a portable net into which parents and children to try to place their air-ball pucks with plastic hockey sticks.
Sometimes, especially in warmer weather, there are so many children from ages infancy to around 10 that I feel drawn into the melee with my imagination, remembering times from my own childhood.
Today, Christmas Day, the weather has turned cold and windy, with some light snow and frost on the ground. The little pond is frozen over. As Eva and I tried to take our daily walk, but were defeated by the icy wind from the lake, we returned by way of the play area. Yes, there were a few hardy families there at around 11 AM, the children full of energy and delight at being free from the confines of walls. Such wonderful energy! I often feel children sustain me in my old age, encouraging me to maintain a cheerful aspect on life and the world.
Especially wonderful during this time of no large gatherings and no non-critical travel, are the communications from Eva’s children, some of them showing pictures and videos of their children, Sam being 7 months and Tage being almost two years old. And also my great-granddaughter Quinn, age 2½, in Arizona. How we miss being with them in person! How lovely of their parents to keep us almost daily informed of their progress through life.
It is a commonplace and almost trite to say—‘they are the future’. But there is no denying this truth.
It does help to keep one hopeful and cheerful to have children in one’s life and in the neighborhood.