Kids don’t get to be kids these days like I used to get to be a kid in MY day. No, I’m not going to tell about how I used to walk a mile in the snow to get to the old country school house so quit complaining story. I’m not THAT old.
But when I was a kid, we used to play hide and seek after dark, swing from ropes in the hay mow, go swimming in the local creek, hang upside down on the metal monkey bars over a gravel playground, ride our bikes down the highway (no helmets or knee pads). Ride horses bareback down the highway. Run barefoot over gravel. Car seats? Get serious.
Don’t get me wrong. I think all of the safety equipment and guidelines are great and I know they’ve saved lives. I practice and condone their use because I love my babies and want to keep them safe. But EVERY once in a while – you’ve just got to let a kid be a kid without making them fear for life and limb, right?
So, me being me, when the 4 grands were with us this past weekend, Tom and I broke a few politically correct rules, held our breath, said a few prayers and let them be kids.
They had a blast!
Here are some of photos of them climbing up a very tall ladder into the hay mow. Gasp! Horror! They could fall and break a bone!
Lane riding Diamond by himself!!
Here they are behind Grampa’s tractor (no seatbelts) on a hay wagon. More horror! No adult on the wagon with them. But do note that Margaret, the dog, was there to help out LOL
The photos I didn’t take, because I was laughing so hard, were the ones of them covered in mud. Yup. We have a creek that meanders behind our acreage. They wanted to explore. So, after checking it out (there was a mere 6 inches of water in it last weekend even though after a hard rain there can be 6 rapidly moving feet of water), I said, “Go forth and explore! But DON’T GO IN THE WATER.”
Well, of course, I knew that their best intentions of staying dry would eventually succumb to curiosity and fully expected them to return to the house wet. But I wouldn’t have been a ‘good’ gramma if I hadn’t at least planted the seed.
So, off they went, in shorts and t-shirts (it was 80 degrees here last weekend) and their rubber barn boots. Determined to make ourselves let them be kids, Tom and I kept our distance, taking bets on how long it would be before ‘trouble’ struck. It wasn’t 10 minutes after they’d left that Lane – the 6 year old – had been dispatched by his big sister to deliver a 911 call to Gramma and Grampa. Blake (8 years old) was stuck in quick sand! “It has to be quick sand, Gramma because it ate his boot and he can’t get out.” (I’m already seeing their imaginations bloom with their memory of the great adventure in the wild where quicksand lurked in the creek and if there was quicksand surely there were crocodiles!)
So Grampa grabbed a rope and went to the rescue on the four wheeler. They had another adventure just getting unstuck and finding the lost boot again.
By the time Grampa delivered them to me they – well, you can just about imagine what they looked like. After a long session with the garden hose, some long hot showers and soaking their muddy clothes in the washer, all was right with their world again. And they had a wonderful adventure to tell mom and dad about.
Yikes. I’d forgotten about mom and dad! Fortunately, they were totally on board with the great adventure and nothing was said about banning them from Gramma and Grampas acreage in the future.
Was it hard to let them take a few risks? Absolutely. Was the result worth the worry? Again, I say absolutely. Would I let them loose to survive the odds on their own again? Not in the near future. :o) I don’t want to press my luck with their safety. But of all the things we did last weekend – and trust me I had TONS of activities lined up for them to do, when mom and dad asked them what they did, the first thing out of each sweet little mouth was: We got stuck in quicksand in the creek!
So – what do you think? Was I a bad Gamma? And what about you? Do you ever get melancholy for the good old days where risk wasn’t really a risk but just par for the course? What are crazy things you did when you were a kid that you would NEVER let your kids or grandkids do today? What are some of the things you wish you’d done?