Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sometimes When I Look Out the Window

[Pardon the interruption of Waylon Week.  I just had to sit down and write this immediately.]

Sometimes when I look out the window, I am stopped in my tracks, struck by the thought that I think my children are having a good childhood.

It is not something I can photograph well, but right now, Georgia and June are playing some sort of travel game out in the back yard.  They've packed their suitcases and dragged out their sleeping bags, and at this very moment they have stripped down to their underwear in the bright sunshine for God knows what reason.  Perhaps it is bedtime in their world? 

Waylon is napping, and the girls are supposed to be having quiet time, but when they are playing nicely together it feels wrong to adhere to a rigidly enforced schedule of independent, restful play.  Sometimes there's a good reason to break the rules.

Who knows when all is said and done whether our children will feel they had a good childhood.  Certainly there are many daily moments that I'm not proud of.  I get burned out.  I lose my temper too often.  I'm not merely being humble or paying lip-service to such thoughts.  Besides, the kids are young, and there are many years left to screw this all up.  But this is not about that.  This is about eating your oatmeal outside so you can watch the roofers work on the neighbor's house.  This is about putting on headscarves and getting out Easter baskets in October so you can hunt for nuts and berries and play "Little Purple Riding Hood".  This is about feeling gratitude and squeezing my eyes tight trying to hold on to fleeting moments. 

I do not think that a city upbringing is better than a suburban one, or that a suburban childhood is superior to that offered by the city.  But sometimes, when I look out the window I can't believe we even have a yard.  Or that my children are outside - without me.  This is still all so new to me, and it's blowing my mind.

Finishing oatmeal al fresco to enjoy the wonderful roofing show next door.

I mean...
And how am I supposed to make anyone ever go to school ever when what they do with a slugga Monday is put on headscarfs and get out Easter baskets to go hunting for nuts and berries in the front yard whilst playing "Little Purple Riding Hood"?  

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

-Mary Oliver             

6 comments:

Maggie and Mike said...

Yes! Yes! It is amazing. And I love Mary Oliver :-)

TomT said...

Cool post! I wish I was one of your kids.

jessica said...

So sweet. And your yard looks amazing-the perfect backdrop for endless "let's pretend" situations.

Ann Price said...

It's great to see this perspective and to realize that for you, the urban experience was something so dramatically different from the let-them-play-alone-in-the-yard bliss of the suburbs. I feel like we have something in the middle here in Sunnyside, because of our private park. The kids can wander and invent games and all without a too watchful eye. But it does leave Elisa wanting more sometimes. Today she told me she wanted to move because our house was "too little." Oh, and yeah, we "need a garage." Hmmmm....I'll see what I can do.

Kate said...

Oh, Ann - your comment makes me feel like I should clarify. First, I wouldn't say I'm experiencing suburban bliss! : ) There are so many things about the city I miss. Maybe I'm just trying to focus on the positive here. But second, I'm sure there are plenty of city settings where kids can experience more outdoor freedom, I guess what I meant is that it's all new to me bc of the particulars of our old place. We visited parks all the time, but our building itself didn't really have grass or trees, and there was no portion of it safe for letting the kids play unattended even for 5 minutes. But I have lots of friends and family in the city with a different set up, whether it be some kind of yard or enclosed area to play. Anyway, I just wanted to clarify that the point of my post was not meant to be pro suburbs as much as just a commentary on the changes I'm eexperiencing. Under different circumstances, I could've found these things in the city I think.

Sarah said...

Love it!