Who else had an awesome childhood?
I feel extremely lucky to have grown up the way I did. Not only did we live out in the middle of no where, but so did my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and my cousins. My grandparents own a farm, which proved to be an excellent place to play.
My cousins, little brother, and I spent every summer at the farm. The farmhouse itself is amazing. It was built well over 100 years ago and has so many stories to tell. Upstairs are the bedrooms, one of which was the bedroom of my mom, and another the room where my grandfather (her father) was born. Tucked away in a drawer is an old box that is the home to my great-grandma's long and beautiful brown curls from her first haircut. There are the dog-tags from my grandpa's brother who died when he was just 20 years old.
When he died, the funeral was held in that house. There are photographs of my family throughout the years, generations of people before me who probably never thought they'd have a granddaughter so interested in them. But here I am, peering into their smiling faces, wishing I could talk to them and ask them about their stories, the farm, their journeys, and life.
When we weren't exploring the nooks and crannies of the upstairs, we were playing "Amish" outside, dressing up and living like we were Laura Ingalls. The old milk house served as a wonderful home for my cousins and me as we served up lunch using sand in old salt shakers and milkweed flowers as tacos. Above the milk house is a grain storage area which we turned into our loft, creating a bed out of gunny sacks filled with hay and a patchwork quilt covering it. Of course it wouldn't be complete without a kerosene lantern as well.
In the winter we found joy playing on the round bales. The cracks between the bales made excellent little "houses", and together with my cousins and brother (and the dogs), we spent hours playing on those bales.
Above the barn is the haymow where games of basketball were played with the whole family. After Easter, the family would go for a long walk or go up to the haymow to play a game of P-I-G. It's kind of magical up there with the hay and light coming in through the barn boards.
And best of all is the grandparents who live there, still today, who always went the extra mile to help us bring our imagination to life. Whether it was my grandma sewing me a bonnet made out of scraps from a dress and a cereal box, or grandpa pounding in poles in the ground so I could have my own clothesline in front of our milk house home while he shook his head at my attempt to make wooden shoes (not Amish, I know...but apparently I also wanted to be Dutch :P), my grandparents (and parents) are amazing at boosting creativity in children. They let us be wild and free. They let us play. And because of that we grew into creative adults who look back with love on our childhood. In fact, my brother and I still go back home every weekend to be with our parents because our home is where we had so many of our happiest memories.
When I think about the childhood I want for my three kiddos, I want it to be like mine. I want them to run barefoot through the yard and come in at the end of the day dirty and tired from playing. I want their imagination to fill their time, not devices and television. I want them to live, and to enjoy living, without the leash social media and technology can sometimes bring.
So when it comes to raising wild and free kids, here are my strategies and ideas:
What are your tips for raising wild and free children? What was your childhood like? I'd love to hear about it :)
Until next time,
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