One day, 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. As she looked at the house and yard, she must have had so many happy childhood memories circling in her mind. I'm sure she could easily recall running down the driveway, playing hide and seek in the yard, or sitting on the front steps taking in the beauty of a summer's day. Her lovely smile showed me how much she enjoyed watching my kids enjoy 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, tag marathons, and street basketball games. In those ancient days before video and online games, I have to say we were pretty good at figuring out things to keep us busy and entertained. There were those days when we just hung around on the stoop and watched the cars go by. Usually, some kind of invented game would fill up that lazy, summer afternoon.
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 sky high tall trees and the stretch of green grass in my front yard. I wish he would have lived long enough to see my kids growing up in this house. He would have been a good referee for all those close basketball games on my driveway.
I feel blessed that my kids are lucky enough to have a big yard to play in each day. As a city girl at heart, I become a curious and adventurous kid again when we chase butterflies, run in the sprinkler and jump in the leaves together. It's a great boost to my spirit when sharing these childhood experiences of discovery and fun with my kids. On those days when I allow myself to just have fun, it feels like a second childhood for me. Does childhood ever have to end?
I think I need to take off the "Mommy in charge" hat more often. Mommy has to jump into the action and play and grow with my kids and just "breathe" together as a family. The past 14 years as a mom has really flown by. As a mom, I want my kids to think of me also as a playtime buddy. The laundry can wait. 30 minutes of playtime here and there with the kids truly keeps the “heart of the home” running.
My yard offers a variety of exploring opportunities for me and my gang. More memories are ready to be made. Just like the young woman who stopped by to say hello to her childhood home, I can see my kids coming back here in 20 years with a smile fueled by fun memories of laughter and silliness.