Playdate happiness : Where did it go?

At 5:45am, although I was still in mid-dream, my son bursted into the room giddy and jumping ten feet into the air.  Well, maybe not ten feet. But surely quite high. He was super excited and that jubilant 9-year old excitement could not be contained.  Late in the day, he was going to have a playdate. His first one in our new home in Los Angeles. This day was quite momentous. I opened my blurry eyes and tried to focus on his little face. I wanted to see that wide smile and soak in pure happiness.   I seriously cannot remember the last time that I woke up that happy. Actually, I cannot remember the last time I felt that happy in the moment.   That level of grand anticipation is not one that we, as adults, get to experience all that often. Sure, we can be happy. However, this happiness and anticipation is something that we experience more likely in childhood and with less frequency thereafter.  That is just a bit sad.


I don’t really have playdates. Let me actually reframe this. I don’t recall having official playdates when I was young. I don’t think we really thought of us hanging out and playing as having a playdate. It was nothing formal and official. We would talk for hours on end. We would watch movies together. We would play silly calculator games. They were never playdates.  Our get togethers were never prearranged by our parents the way that they are nowadays. Everything is scheduled and worked into one’s day. I am not a big fan of the concept. However, my son loves it and needs it.


He is an only child. We have a new dog who is quite active. However, it is not the same as having another similarly-minded Xbox afficionado. Thus, I agreed to a playdate. And it made his day, week and month. After seeing his extreme happiness how can I not continue to do it?   When he called his friend, I got the giggles. He was extremely serious as he worked out the playdate logistics.


All day he eagerly awaited his playdate’s arrival. Of course, this being California, the playdate started a good 45 minutes later than originally planned. I suppose the delay made the playdate even that much sweeter and fun. By the end of his playdate he was dripping in sweat and ate a full large sized pizza by himself. Wow.


As he played and laughed and ran, I wondered where did all that excitement in life go? Sure, I have my travels. I have my bread pudding taste testings. I have my mojitos. But everyday life can be filled with such little wins and tons of headaches. I need to flip the script. That’s what my executive coach told me to do. I need to focus on everyday successes according to her. I suppose I have to.  It’ll be my own version of a playdate.

8 replies »

  1. I think that giving it a tittle “play date” makes it more official in today’s busy and awkward times. When we were young if you really think about it and as I recall everyday was a play day coming home from school and going out to meet the gang of our neighbourhood. We would play till our mothers would come out to the balcony and call us one by one to come home and eat and do our homework… so yeah I believe we all as youngsters had play days. It’s just then, those times, everyone had more time on their hands. Fathers used to work, moms were at home, and kids were in the park. Today moms are single, working to make ends meet.. even in a couple.. kids are in front of the computer playing Xbox or Pokemon or some new game… if you ask me and in my opinion those good old days are long gone… so if play date is what it was … let’s make it ever so popular!


  2. I think parents have to be involved for it to be a play date. When you think back to a less structured childhood, it doesn’t involve having parents making plans for you.


  3. When I was a kid, if you tried to set up a playdate we’d run as fast in the other direction as we could. Parents were not welcome meddling in our affairs. (Trying to imagine a “playdate” between Tom and Huck.) It was a different world.


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