This past weekend marked to 3rd birthday of one of my nephews. We attended the party, ate hot dogs and nachos at his house, along with lots of other family and friends.
Now, can I just take a second and say that if you have children, you are expected to watch out for them. I have to admit that I really hate to see a parent just ignore their responsibility to their kids by failing to keep up with where the kids are, or what they are doing.
I guess it's my nature that I always seem to watch all the kids. From a distance I mean. Sort of like a lifeguard at a pool I guess, just taking it all in, not paying too close attention to any one child, just an overall eye on the goings on.
Now the birthday boys dad (who also happens to be a fireman), myself and one other dad (who happens to be a police officer) [is anyone seeing a pattern???] just naturally migrated out and were watching all the kids run in the yard. Keep in mind this is out in the country and some of the kids are as young as 3 to as old as 12. They are playing in the yard around tractors, mowers and lots of other farm equipment. Not to mention livestock. And we were letting them play too, just watching to keep them from climbing under the mowers or into the discs of the equipment. But all the while the parents were inside taking with each other and eating.
And when it was time for the birthday boy to open gifts, the other parents were talking and ignoring the fact that their kids were opening the presents for him. Some were playing with his gifts after he opened them while he was opening a new one.
It really was all I could do not to get on to the kids, and the parents.
Ah, but sweet poetic justice would soon arrive.
One of the gifts was a set of plastic garden tools; a shovel and rake and hoe. The young birthday boy took them out to dig in the yard, with the rest of the kids along to 'help'. I mentioned to his dad that it would be easier to dig with the plastic tools in the mud puddle. And his dad smiled and said that was fine, they could just use a garden hose to clean him off before going inside. He even smiled and made the comment "mine doesn't have to ride home in a car". I encouraged him to dig in the mud and water, which he took to enthusiastically.
The other kids, with a complete lack of parental oversight to stop them, started to help just a little. And that's when the clouds parted, a shaft of light shown on our little area, and I heard beautiful music. I knew I had to do it. I reached into my pocket, and loudly asked the kids "Who wants to dig for money?", and then pitched coins into the mud puddle.
I didn't know that a dollars worth of change would buy so much fun.
It was some of the best fun I've seen in a long time. The first sign of trouble was when a cute little 4 year old walked inside to ask her mother for "a wet wipe". She had mud in her hair, her shoes were covered in mud, her dress has mud splashed all over it. Her mothers scream only added to the general merriment of those outside. There was then a sudden interest to find out what their kids were doing.
Parents, watch your kids, they might run into someone like me.