Sometimes I like to spy on the kids at recess (I need to qualify that with "my kids", other wise it's just weird). I like to see them, and them not see me. It shows me what their recess really looks like. Are they having fun? Are they standing alone? This may to some seem like an invasion of their privacy, but to me it is a peek into their well being, an unobtrusive peek. When they come home from school I ask them "How was your day?" Inevitably the answer is "good" the standard one word answer that tells me nothing. Most days they are not very forthcoming unless something really exciting happened. I then move on to "Did anything interesting happen today?" the answer, usually "no". Honestly it's like playing 20 questions. You have to know the right question to ask before you get more than a one word answer. Inevitably I will find out information second hand that would have been important knowledge that day, so that I could have done something about it. Don't get me wrong, I don't take my a coffee and binoculars for a stake out of recess, that would be just, well ... creepy. Sometimes if I know that they have been having problems with an individual child bothering them, or if I worry that they don't have any friends, I will make a special trip to spy. Generally just I go and take a peek if I am in the general area.
Yesterday was one of those times that I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I parked my car in the driveway, and looked out at recess. I spotted Rowan right away (his bright red hair is an easy spotting device). I saw that he was playing with his friend and that they were having fun. His face was so animated, and happy. My heart did a little happy beat. A few seconds later I saw a little blonde girl run from behind the play structure and grab onto his hand. He ran around the playground holding her little hand. I was pleasantly shocked. He was holding Elly's hand, and playing with Elly!
My girls are like little mother hens. They are constantly clucking around Elly. They are very maternal, the both of them. Rowan is a very laid back kid (unless that is he loses his temper, and then watch out). He plays with Elly if it suites him, and she's o.k. with that. Elly does not seem to expect a lot from Rowan. Riley has come home from school a few times and told me that she let Elly play with her and her friends. She is the one that leads Elly back to her classroom. Usually it is Riley who looks out for Elly. It really took me by surprise to see Rowan letting Elly play with him and his friend. Don't get me wrong, Rowan loves Elly, and he's good to her, but I didn't think that it would occur to him to watch out for her.
I sat in my car, barely blinking back the tears, this stupid smile on my face. As I sat there watching them I saw that Rowan would run, but would look down to make sure that she could match his stride. Then I would see him stop and look down at her to talk. It was beautiful, truly beautiful. It was one of those days where I think to myself "I'm doing a good job". I don't want my kids to feel tied to each other. It's important that they have their own "separate" lives, but I want them to feel connected to each other. It was a good day.