One year on the last day of school, my oldest children got off the bus, greeted their visiting grandparents with a big hug, and went directly to the backyard to be bored. Eventually, with nothing else to do and no one else to play with, they started to play their favorite game: kick the ball on the swing.
Kick the ball on the swing always requires two people. One person swings, the other, in perfect synchronized timing, throws the ball at the exact moment the swinger swings forward. This way, the swinger extends their feet and catapults the ball into the air. The goal is for the ball thrower to catch the ball. But sometimes, the ball goes as high as the branches of a nearby pine tree. Or, even goes over the roof of the house.
Of course, it is much more fun to be the swinger than the thrower. And there must be a fair and even amount of chances for the thrower to be the swinger and the swinger to be the thrower.
This was not the case on that last day of school, where my son had enough of throwing and just gave up, with a pout.
This is where my daughter, who I believed had just finished up the 4th grade, yelled: “That’s not fair, I threw more to you than to me. And there is no one else to play with and I am bored! And I hate you! Now get back here and play with me now!”
This fighting and loving seems to be, according to my neighbor, a favorite form of entertainment for brothers and sisters. I can go through all the parenting magazines like Family Fun or read books like Kids Unplugged. I have art materials and cooking projects ready to go.
And what was the chosen activity of my three children on their first afternoon of summer freedom this year? Hit your sibling with a giant foam pool noodle. THWACKTHWACKTHWACK! Let the summer games begin!