I think I've mentioned here that I've begun taking regular morning walks before Husband goes to work. The original idea was that I'd be getting some exercise at least. It's maybe helping a bit to take the baby weight off, but even more than that, I get some mental S P A C E on my walks.
And that is rare indeed these days.
This morning I went into the little patch of woods near our house. It's not an old piece of woods--maybe 40 or 50 years worth of equal parts pine trees, sweet gums, maples, dying cedars, and scattered oaks. There are many trails running through it because it's squeezed between Sister's elementary school, a couple of '60's era neighborhoods, and the American Legion building. I seldom see anyone on these trails, though, which was why this morning I felt a mental looseness I haven't felt in a long time. Maybe in years.
I was remembering when I was a kid in Miami, FL and then later in the rural NC foothills that I spent all my free time outside. There was just so much to do outside and really not so much inside since my mom wouldn't let us watch t.v. during the days. So my brother and I and the neighborhood kids rode our bikes in the street, threw rocks at passing cars, built forts, and played spy from the treetops.
I know this isn't that unusual a childhood for someone my age, but it sure as hell seems unusual for kids these days, don't you think? Do any of you out there just let your kids roam free in the neighborhood or in some nearby woods? Does anyone out there even have access to nearby woods anymore? Isn't it bizarre that only one generation after our own, most of us probably don't?
Our neighborhood is a safe one. We get the occasional break-in of cars parked on the street with stuff left in plain sight inside them, but that's about it. We lock the house at night but that's the extent of our security precautions. So maybe this is the summer to let Sister have the run of those woods before she gets too old to think that's a fun thing to do. I was imagining I'd give her and the friend that stays with us during much of the summer a couple of kid-sized hammers, a box of nails, and free access to the lumber pile. Maybe I'd say yes when they asked if they could go off by themselves to do something and needed the loan of an old sheet, a shovel, and a basket of snacks. (As long as it was okay with the other mama in question, of course.) Maybe I'd even call up the other neighborhood moms with kids at home, let them know my plan, and encourage them to do the same.
I just hate to see my kids' childhoods be so very devoid of free time outside, you know? And Sister's real little girlhood, at least, is coming to an end soon.