No Helicopter Parents, Please. It’s Summer.

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Susan Dromey Heeter

By Susan Dromey Heeter,
Joyful Musings

It doesn’t take much. This week I muse joyfully on being grateful for simple, for the ease of a summer day and the zen of watching children run around and play hide and seek in the pants rack of Salvation Army Thrift Store in Saugus.

Once a year, my friend Anne and I travel down to Saugus for half price Wednesday at the Salvation Army  Thrift Store. Earlier this week we laughed as three little cherubs exemplified pure joy as they raced through the aisles and played hide and seek amidst the thousands of black pants lined up on the racks.

One wore a Spiderman mask; they could not have been more than five or six. Their mom was a few aisles over, she knew her kids were having the time of their lives and mercifully, had a few moments to scour the racks for deals and to shop in peace.  I could have watched those kids all day – they laughed and laughed, and when they caught sight of Anne and I witnessing their play, they’d put the Spiderman mask on and pretend to spray us in webs – or whatever Spidey does.

It’s entirely joyful to watch kids play – to be on their own without a hover crafty parent saying, “Be careful – watch out! Stop!” Certainly that has its time and place – but summer? Nope. It’s the time to run, to play, to laugh so loud people wonder what the commotion is.  And of course there are eyes and ears all around – God knows Anne and I were part of that village watching over these little guys.  They were safe, they were watched, they were all okay.

And they were not on phones, not tethered to a screen, their mother was not posting their pictures to Facebook with the caption, “Fun in the black pants aisle of Salvation Army!”  No, they were entirely present in their joy, their play, their childhood.  Gloriously free, gloriously children.

I muse joyfully this summer that you, too, readers, will have some of that glorious laughter and freedom that comes from late night skies and unstructured fun. Put down your phones, watch children play, join in the glory that comes from pretending to be Spiderman in the racks of black pants at Salvation Army.

Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.


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