The emails started coming in around 5pm yesterday from my neighborhood listserv, a platform which is usually reserved for complaining about bicycle lanes and selling old dressers.
“Shamrock Scavenger Hunt” was the subject line, and the plea was pretty simple: Let’s have all the neighborhood kids make a shamrock to put in the front door or window of your house tomorrow morning in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Then, in the afternoon, families can take a walk around the ’hood and see how many they can spot.
The response was immediate: “I love this plan!” “So cute!” “I live on Caton and East 3rd and have two bored kids who would love to do this!” By morning, over 80 families had signed up to participate, posting their cross-streets to a shared Google doc.
My kids, ages three and five, were decidedly on board.
Since the new reality of life has set in (What has it been? Two days? It feels like a year!), the concept of how to engage our children and how to interact with our community has rapidly changed. On a personal level, this is huge. A week ago, my husband was running his bustling little independent business five days a week. Now, he’s all but shuttered and reprioritized his life, in order to feed, educate and entertain our children, while I work furiously from an upstairs bedroom.
We’re feeling it out day by day. It’s uncharted territory. And even though we have each other (and two tiny people who could talk to us for hours about Jackson Storm or the rules of Zingo or why tomatoes are gross), it can be very isolating.
That’s why the St. Patrick’s Day challenge was such a welcome activity. Guided by my husband, the kids cut out shamrocks and decorated them, then taped them to the window. This, we should note, ate up a solid 40 minutes of the morning. Then, after lunch, we all set out together, walking down the block in search of green. We saw many neighbors out, some with notepads to record their findings. All with a smile and hand wave (from a distance) when they spotted us.
The concept? Simple. The payoff? Huge.