Summer is for allowing (!) children to be children!
Taking our children to the water's edge many times this summer, I've found it takes them a bit of time initially to unwind, just as it takes adults similarly to do the same.
Our time there usually happens after the dinner hour, firstly setting up our chairs to find the blessing and saluting of another's day while the sun sets directly ahead.
With desired items in hand, the back of the van is emptied and all is set around our general locale area.
I myself prefer to go right to the water's edge.
Never mind this being in the sand ten or twenty feet up from the lapping waves. I want to be - right there! Only a front row to the spectacular for me. (smiles)
This particular late afternoon/evening, our son surprised us when he walked from our home with a shoe box of his plastic army men.
Now, normally I won't suggest he bring such items to the water's edge, knowing from past experience many don't return home from being washed away, or buried in unknown areas which aren't retrieved and placed once again back in his little collection.
At his age, I figured if he wanted to bring them, he would just have to accept whatever the consequences would be if some were lost. A case of "don't sweat the small stuff mom".
I'm all in favor of child's play, and have always wondered; who really are the parents to say when, and if, our children have really and truly outgrown their soaring imaginative ideas, by way of using their treasured items to perform out of this world hours of imaginative play?
It is my personal believe that deep down, even adults would love to be able to be like a young kid again, drifting off into their play times for hours and hours.
I can't even imagine squashing or limiting such dramatic possibilities myself.
So there he was, at the water, shoe box in hand not feeling any peer pressure at all over his choice of item to bring this day.
Certainly along with us were the usual; boogie boards, masks, sand toys, wicker mats, and so forth. All is fair in beach play because we would be there for as long as everyone opted to remain, usually until at least after sunset.
It all began easily, the digging of a large hole which quickly sprang a leak and began filling with water.
And then, walls were etched with fingers smoothing and sculpting them into fortress perfection. Caves were built, smaller walls built, and the shoe box carefully protected from getting damp.
One small green figure at a time was removed from the box.
Depending on which type was in hand, ever carefully, he was set into the imagined and exact scene, entirely created by our son as he went along, one little man at a time.
Naturally this whole sandy, water's edged scene was taking place directly before me, a mere three feet from where we sat, as we chatted his father and I with him, as we also noted and watched the kite boarders in our midst, soaring about on the crest of waves and surfaces of the water.
Admiring his keen sense of allowing this moment for the sheer joy of simple hobby pleasures, those childhood imaginary pleasures that is, I admired his sense of patience, to order and create unbaffled by any passersby, who might have stared and wondered exactly what he was doing, just enjoying the time spent in play mode this evening.
As the sun descended signaling it was almost time to depart, slowly and carefully he began to dismantle the fortress, wash the sand from his collection and bury the large hole, leaving it as he had found it.
He was pleased with his beach play.
And, the day was done.
Just my own thoughts here....
A young man was able - AND ALLOWED to be a child this night.
He wasn't told;
"That is far too young for you to be playing with those."or worse;
"Put them away, you're too big for that."
... admittedly two of the most difficult things I cannot understand parents flippantly spouting off at their children, no matter their age.
How do they know this child isn't still young at heart?
How do they know what the child wishes to do, and hopes for no condemnation on their preference for play upon occasion?
This isn't so in our big wide world much anymore - children are forced to grow up far too quickly, and not allowed the luxury of being .... well... just a child at heart, when able.
I encourage our children to play, no matter what their ages. After all, I still like to play too, don't you?