I decided to pull myself out of my mothering funk and encourage my boys to invite friends over on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
It was a rousing success.
My oldest invited a friend over on Wednesday, and the kids had a blast showing him around our place. I kept my daughter occupied by mixing up a batch of brownies in the kitchen while the boys went crazy in our basement playroom. After lunch, we all went outside in the yucky weather for a big game of soccer. Then, we appreciated the added bonus that he lives in our neighborhood by walking him home.
Yesterday, my younger son had his turn. He is new to the world of making friends from school, and it has been a journey finding the right sort of kids for him to befriend. He had a terrific time. They played non-stop with the Playmobil castle downstairs and spent their outdoor time riding bikes through puddles and playing a raucously muddy game of tag.
I was fun for me to see the boys with their friends. We spend so much time at school and evening activities that I rarely get the chance to see what a few friends will do with a quiet environment.
On Wednesday, my younger son was so willing to follow along with the bigger boys and do his best to play what they wanted to play, I emerged from the experience with a greater appreciation of his generous nature and easygoing manner.
On Thursday, though, while my second son played with his friend, my oldest was irritable. He chafed under the expectation that he had to let his brother lead. It left him out of sorts. I guess I hadn't realized before how much a part of my oldest's identity is tied up with being in charge. So I pulled him aside, much as I had done with my youngest the day before, and let him help me with a kitchen project -- cherry pie. I let him do all the gathering of ingredients, measuring and mixing. We spent some time with the math involved in cooking. He was in his glory (and the pie turned out great!)
Both days were a learning experience.
In the end, I found that fostering friendships was worth the time and trouble for my boys. We all gained from it (especially after eating brownies and pie!) Even though our weather remains dreary, new friends provided what we had been missing -- the excitement of something new.
Both boys said they had a wonderful time and they'd like to come over again. One even called after our visit to see if my boys would join his Boy Scout troop. So, our new friend adventures will continue.
- Midwest Mom