I am sitting here at my kitchen table hearing the hum of the washing machine behind me and the playful screams of kids outside. We are enjoying a sunny day here, not a hot day, but a perfect Fall day for Mississippi.
I love when the neighborhood kids are all outside playing together. I don't love it enough to let them all inside my house (I learned my lesson on that a long time ago), but I do love it enough to let them rip and run all through our yard. And they all know where the water hose is when they get thirsty.
I did not have that opportunity where I grew up, and I love that my kids are getting to experience something different than I did as a child. Don't get me wrong, I will always be a country girl at heart, and now more than ever I can see the advantages of growing up in a rural area. But having friends show up at my front door and asking if I could play just didn't happen to me growing up. Even once my friends could drive, they still would not drive out to my house. It was just too far.
So seeing my kids have friends showing up at the door is just way cool to me. But like I said earlier, I have learned some lessons. There are days during the week Gogurt and Poptart are not allowed to come out and play because of the havoc it causes on our afternoon/evening schedule.
Thankfully, my kids do still get a taste of the country life. They often visit Mamaw and Papaw in the house where I grew up. They like playing in the creek, climbing the bank, exploring in the woods, shooting their bow & arrows, and this last time they were able to see a family of deer in the back yard behind the house. We all enjoy the outdoors so much - but we can't have both, and for the time being this is where God has placed us.
I remember when Brad & I were looking for a house in this area. We had lived in Louisiana for a little over 3 years in a townhouse. We moved back to Mississippi when Gogurt was 8 months old and lived in an apartment for a couple of months. We desperately wanted a house, specifically with a good yard to play in. Really, I would cross off houses that I otherwise liked because of the size of the yard or the location of the yard to a busy street, etc. Little did I know back then how much use our yard would really get!
I also remember telling Brad and our realtor very early in our search that I would never live somewhere with a Name. You know, a subdivison, the places where those poor city folks had to live because they weren't blessed enough to have a place in the country. A place where the houses are all crammed together and there's nowhere to ride a tractor or four-wheeler.
We would drive through these named places, and my heart would hurt for the children. "What must they do for fun?" I would wonder. My child will never live that deprived life. Never.
(This would be a good time to re-read the title of this post.)
We've been in this house going on 8 years. And yes, this neighborhood (I do prefer neighborhood to subdivision, just sounds more homey to me) has a Name. Our houses are all crammed together, but we do occasionally see a four-wheeler riding down our street.
My how time changes your perspective. Now when traveling, I have caught myself looking at a house miles from their nearest neighbor and even farther from the nearest town and thinking, "What must these poor children do for fun?"
Brad & I have talked about moving for years. I'm not exaggerating. But we are still here. Our house is small, and our neighborhood is aging, but we love it here. More than that, our kids love it here.
I'm never going to say growing up in "the city" beats growing up in "the country," but I've finally been taught not to say the opposite either.