H set off back to the car to drop off our library bag and I turned to the two small daughters stood beside me; “Park while we wait for Daddy?”
It was always going to be a rhetorical question.
There’s a lovely little green space just in front of our library. It’s where they hold mini festivals and fun fairs and farmers markets, but most of the time it’s just grass and tall trees. Trees of the perfect girth to hide behind in fact. So that’s what we did. First the girls hid and then Pip and I snuck behind a tree, peeped out one side to lure the girls over and then started circling the tree at a hasty trot, never quite catching up and never quite being caught until the giggles got too much for Kitty and she stopped to catch her breath and be scooped up in a hug.
She and Elma ran off to hide again, this time behind a skinny tree that could only cover Kitty so Elma stood facing the tree, in clear view, with her back to me, perfectly disguised as a small piece of red and white flowery bark on the trunk of the tree behind her.
We took turns again and again and again until H came back, and then he joined in too and I snuck my phone out to capture just a little bit of our fun.
And it struck me how it felt like it had been a while since we did something silly and impromptu and just played hide and seek. We’ve been on lots of adventures recently and while they’re a lot of fun, they have a slightly different vibe about them. Not better, or worse, just different. And then when we’re at home I quite often spend my time with the girls or Pip doing a project sort of a thing; baking or playing ice cream shop or Duplo or something, not to mention the cooking and washing up and laundry and hoovering and making sure that we’re all clean, eating something vaguely appropriate, and sleeping somewhere cosy.
I think the silly play is the one that for me slips through the gaps the fastest. Mainly because if you say “right kids, now we’re going to do something spontaneous and silly” it’s just not going to happen.
But I think it’s been a little nudge to be more conscious that in these summer days, with all the plans and adventures, we also need to balance it out with time to simply be, and not be batting around trying to fix the house and do a hundred and one other things at once.
And if all else fails, there’s always more hide and seek.