Monday, March 9, 2009

Place to grow and play

Today a young woman came by to tell me that she was happy to see so much life in our house. Standing next to my driveway, she peered up at me as I was looking out my sons' bedroom window. This soft spoken woman said that she grew up in this house. She spent her whole childhood here. As she looks at the house and yard, she must have so many happy childhood memories circling in her mind. It probably seems like just yesterday when she was running down the driveway, playing hide and seek in the yard or sitting on the front steps on a summer's day. I could tell that she was happy to see how my kids are enjoying their childhood in this house too.

Growing up in New York City, I was an apartment kid. All of us neighborhood kids would gallop down the stairs and make up a whole variety of sidewalk games. We had a blast. I can remember weeks of jump rope competitions, hopscotch mania, hide and seek marathons and street basketball games. I have to say we were good at figuring out things to keep us busy. There were those days where we just hung around on the stoop and watched the cars go by. But that was o.k. too. We always found a way to pass the time together.

My parents would have liked to raise us in a house with a yard. They encouraged us to hopefully someday own our own home. I remember my Dad's smile when he saw my house for the first time. He loved the tall trees and green grass in my front yard. I wish he would have lived long enough to see my kids growing up in this house. I'm so happy that my kids are lucky enough to have a beautiful yard to play in each day. As a city girl at heart, I become a kid again when we chase butterflies, run in the sprinkler and jump in the leaves together. I feel lucky to share these childhood experiences with my kids. On those days when I allow myself to just have fun, it feels like a second childhood when I join in their games. I may be 40 years old, but I can still enjoy being silly as I roll around in the grass with my kids. Does childhood ever have to end? Having kids gives us the chance to have those carefree days to play and laugh again. I think I need to take off the "Mommy in charge" hat sometimes. Mommy has to jump into the action and play and grow with my kids more often. The past 12 years as a mom has really flown by. The next 12 will seem to go faster probably. I want to be a big part of my kids' playtime memories too. It will be fun to pass the piled up laundry hamper some times and run out into the yard with the kids.

There is a lot of things that we still need to explore around my yard. More memories are ready to be made. Just like the young woman who stopped by this morning, I can see my kids coming back here with a smile in twenty years.

13 comments:

Joanne said...

I spent part of my childhood in the city too and remember fondly the jumprope and hopscotch games we'd devise, watching the city world go by. Then I raised my kids in the suburbs, and so got to experience the best of both childhoods!

Mari said...

I love this post! It brings me back to my childhood. I grew up on a farm with lots of land to roam and have such great memories.
I also like what you say about playing with your kids. I wish I had done it more - you are so right about the next 12 years going by even quicker!

dani said...

Beautiful! I love this! I'm always missing my childhood- being the youngest in my family gave me that syndrome. And yes, I always want to take advantage of being a kid again with my children. Lovely post- well written. I love how you bring it all together again with the last paragraph!

T Rex Mom said...

Beautiful post. My husband speaks the same way about his childhood house and also his grandma's house. I never experienced anything like that but after reading this post, I understand his perspective better. Thanks so much for sharing.

CDB said...

This is so touching, especially the mention of the smile on your dad's face. This is a great perspective post! Makes me reflect, always a good thing.

thezeninyou said...

I too remember childhood as time to explore and frolic. I lived on the edge of a forest preserve and the woods were my playground. Today we live in an urban area with no big back yard. We have a park across the street...but it's not the same... Although, even if we lived off a preserve like I did, I doubt I would let my kids run off as I did (times have changed a bit...).

H.K. said...

Your post had me smiling as I remember playing in my childhood home. I remember a family coming to visit us and telling us that they used to live there and they told us where they hid a box full of toys. It was awesome to find a box of toys from the 50s!

(Thanks for visiting my blog! I had to delete my blog and re-do another one, malfunction! still new, but hopefully I'll ge the hang of it!)

Sabrina said...

Wow...this is beautiful and poignant. What a sweet experience, and how gracious of you to bring her in to relive those memories. :)

G said...

Nice post.

Sometimes, what comes around goes around.

Memories of growing up are the best kind of all.

Especially when we see the repeats in our children.

Michelle said...

How cool for that woman to come see her old house. I've been tempted before to want to go see, but ... it just seems so weird to me.

And you just made me realize that I'll be 40 when my wee ones are 12. Yikes!

Enjoy that time in the sprinkler!

joanne said...

this is a beautiful story...and so many of my own memories are coming flooding back to me as i read... i have never given up on the inner child... the carefree giggles and play time ... it is often in these memories where we often find our truest selves... more whole and authentic than anywhere else...

how lovely that the woman stopped to talk and share... how much it must have added to your own journey into your memories and into the present moment with your own children... what a wonderful gift she gave to you...

i'm so glad i clicked through from Joanne's to find you...

Amanda said...

What a wonderful post - thank you for sharing.

judith ellis said...

This is a most beautiful post. Thank you so much. My mother raised 12 children alone and believe me when I tell you that she created such memories for us. But I must tell you that this little lady of 5' 4" with children that are 5'5" to 6' 4" was a powerhouse. She was no joke. She meant what she said and said what she meant. But FULL of love and life she was and this made our home a most happy one.

I write of her often on my blog under the label "Being Delores Lee Ellis." All of her children are professionals and artists and all serve in ministry in some capacity. We were taught so serve first and this service helps us in our professions. Your message here is a most needed one in our neighborhoods, surburban and urban, and I am happy to have found you here. Thanks again for these words. The pictures of the flowers made me smile. :-)

By the way, I love your selection of authors. Many are my favorites too.