I’ve been in a “season of remembering” and feeling grateful lately, after a cold, harsh winter and a major health setback. During this time, I have had countless ideas for blog posts but we are experiencing a time in our family when all computers are nearly dead and also I need to learn much more about technology than I want in order to reach the “next level” of blog writing. So the ideas and creative impulses come and go and I have done nothing.
Until this morning, looking out at the lovely grass and listening to the birds as Spring begins to unfold, I started remembering how connected our family had the privilege of being to the seasons when my kids were young. My husband and I intentionally semi-stepped off the grid of urban life and uprooted our young family from the city to a country setting. At the time, all I can remember is wanting to have a simpler life with fewer distractions and outside intrusions but we didn’t have many specific ideas about what our “country life” would feel like beyond that. The lessons came for us, many of them surprisingly difficult and unpleasant, yet we know, looking back, it was absolutely the right choice to make for our children.
This morning I started remembering all the unstructured, wild fun we had together when we lived in the country. We’d take adventurous walks on our land and the kids would get filthy dirty without worrying about being clean or “ready” for the next obligation on our busy calendar because there wasn’t much of a calendar to worry about at all. Just time, nature, freedom, each other, the weather, the critters, and the expectations of enjoying one carefree day after the next. So I guess what I am saying is country life gave our family a framework we were craving that didn’t exist in a city: some land, some time, some freedom – to enjoy life with youngsters unbothered by schedules and timetables and expectations. That’s exactly, as it turns out, what we all had. Let me tell you in one word what that life felt like: glorious. It took returning to the city and hearing from parents we must contact the “nanny” to coordinate “play date” schedules for me to appreciate how golden our lives in the country had been. It was isolating at times and occasionally boredom set in. But all you had to do was wait for the next spectacular sunset or sunrise to unfold and rest beneath the quiet (unless it was tornado season) heavens to remember what we had was very special.
I recently heard my daughter describe in great detail what the sky looked and felt like out in the country minutes before a big storm. That memory is part of her and it will stay with her for life. Unless you have spent a considerable amount of time on the prairie and its open skies, you’ll never understand what she meant when she told her friend about that sudden quiet, green-turning-to-black sky that happens right before a big storm. We took shelter during those times in our basement and in each other. We weren’t worried about which activities might be cancelled because of the inconvenience of the weather. The weather was part of our lived experience.
As a Mother, your kids reach college age and you might start looking back to reassure yourself you gave them what they needed. I am fortunate that I didn’t have to worry about much beyond fun and safe experiences on our land when they were little. And I can already see those early years have shaped the young adults they have become. After all, it takes a lot of mud puddles and unstructured play to build a competent adult. Thank goodness we had plenty.