Bad Gramma – but they sure had fun!

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!

hailey blake bday fish 059

hailey blake bday fish 066

Lane riding Diamond by himself!!

hailey blake bday fish 065

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

hailey blake bday fish 070

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?


About cindygerard

Cindy Gerard is a New York Times best-selling author of action packed romantic suspense novels. Learn more about Cindy at
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38 Responses to Bad Gramma – but they sure had fun!

  1. TrishJ says:

    Oh Cindy, you were the PERFECT Grandma. We too live way out of town and our grands love to come and get dirty and experience a way of life they can never have living in the city. They are allowed to play outside after dark, yell as loud as they can and be fearless. Yeah, it can be cringe worthy, and I hope they never break any bones, but just being a kid with no worries doesn’t last long in today’s world. Way to go granny.

    • Cindy Gerard says:

      Thanks Trish. Got to admit, I look back and think, wow, was the risk worth it? But then I see the excitement in their faces over their ‘brush with death’ lol and I think, yup. :o)

  2. You were an awesome Grandma! And now I want to come to Camp Cindy. That shot of the kids in the hayloft reminded me of being at the barn with my sister–we’d climb up, toss down the bales of hay we needed for feeding, and then jump down onto the pile we’d made!

  3. MJ Heather says:

    We’ve lived in our new house a little over a year and one of it’s best features is the back side runs along a cull de sac where there are a lot of families with small kids. Even the garbage man knows he’d better drive really carefully down there and the first driving rule the teenagers are given is WATCH OUT FOR THE KIDS! Letting my sons go tearing out the back door and knowing I won’t know which yard they’ll end up in (or how many kids will end up in my yard) is amazing and wonderful. I ran free out of my own back door and I dont take for granted that my kids have the same freedom.

  4. Terry G. says:

    Cindy, You are an awesome Gramma!! Nothing is better than watching a kid just be a kid. I did all those things you mentioned when I was a kid as well. I hope I get a chance one day, when I have grandkids, to let them experience all of those fun things too.

  5. Linda says:

    Nope sounds like a great Grandma to me. I used to play with my nieces and nephews liek this all the time and can say that the majority of the time a good time was had by all. So if I had kids I would want them to have a grandma like you- so let them be kids with you and watch the photo albums grow.

  6. kylie brant says:

    You do have to let them just have fun at Grandma and Grandpas. Hence the water fights, foam swords for fighting dragons, pirate costumes and helping Grandpa drive the tractor on the farm! It’s all about making memories 🙂

  7. Yep, you’re bad, Cindy. And I’m wondering how I could get some hay hauled in and where I could put it.

  8. leannebanks says:

    What a great weekend you and the grands had! I remember hayrides and flying down hills on my bike with no helmet and no hands! I was pushy about helmets with my kids though! Some of my favorite times were of playing in the woods behind my home. Love that you gave your grands such wonderful adventures!:)

  9. loisgreiman says:

    Yay Cindy. I think kids really need to get out and run wild a lot more. Less meds, more air. In fact, we do a cowgirl camp here on the farm these days. During that three hour time frame we have the girls clean stalls, throw down hay, ride, run, oil, groom. They go home covered in horse hair and mud. But they’re smiling.

    • Cindy Gerard says:

      Love that picture you painted. My parent’s child rearing philosophy: Go outside and play! We need to practice more of that.
      Our son and dt-in-law are WONDERFUL with the kids and I love that they encourage their freedom! Couldn’t ask for better parents!’

  10. Huntsville Beginning Experience says:

    Camp Gramma rocks! Once I remember overhearing two moms talking in the book store and telling each other about how their kids were going to math camp and science camp and computer camp. I wondered, “What about *camp* camp?” Kids need time to just get dirty and play. I live in an apartment now so when my granddaughter comes to visit I have to go hunt for a place for her to run around. The park downtown works as does the Botanical Gardens. In summer, though, she’s happy as a clam in the swimming pool. Or maybe that should be happy as a fish. 😉

  11. Marilyn says:

    That’s me in the previous comment. I forgot I used my email address when I designed the divorce group website.

  12. Marta says:

    Hi Christy!!
    You were an awesome grandma. I wish my girls could experience that side of nature but unfortunately we live in Fl, in the city. However, they do a lot of outdoor activities.
    If you thought you were a bad grandma what do you think about this: My oldest is 14 she’ll be 15 in June. She’s very anxious to drive even without her learner’s permit. Her theory being she needs to practice so when she gets her permit she already knows!! She somehow brainwashed her grandfather( my dad) to take her out to practice. I was stunned when he pulls in the driveway with her in the driver’s seat. it took my dad forever to let me drive with my permit and here goes “grandpa” taking her around the block “once” WITHOUT a

    So do you feel like a bad grandma now? Can
    you imagine the danger in that?

    Grandparents will be grandparents. I’m very happy she’ll have great memories of them

    Don’t worry about broken bones. Again my oldest fractured her wrist& ankle running in the park& school.


    • Cindy Gerard says:

      Hi Marta – and I know you meant Cindy :o)
      I learned to drive in a cow pasture LOL. They just put me behind the wheel of a car and said go. Yes, I had a co-pilot but still, what a fun memory that was.

      • Marta says:

        Sorry Cindy!!!!
        I guess that’s the result when you try to insert a little distraction in the work day. I hope I didn’t prepare any documents with your name instead of the clients. Lol!!

        Take care…

  13. You are a wonderful grandma–just think of the stories they will tell, which will get taller as the years pass. 🙂 So cool! I’m terrified when our grandkids are here–sure they will fall from the rafters, out of the hay stall, or get stuck….or amble right behind an unsuspecting horse. I eyed the horse water tank last time they were here and nearly drained it, after having a sudden vision of one of them falling in head first—and at five and ten, you just never know, even when you are watching them like a hawk! But you are right, Cindy. Having a chance to just be kids is such a treat. Where did those days go? From the time I was six, I was off riding horses with my buddies all over our part of the county. Bareback, bare feet, shorts, no helmets. During those long, lazy summers we would leave right after breakfast, land at someone’s house for lunch, then be off again until supper, and our parents have NO idea where we were! I remember riding bareback behind my friend and us jumping her horse over teeter-totter rails set in cement (no forgiveness there!) and even the picnic tables in the park. Yikes!

  14. catslady says:

    If I were a kid, I’d want you to be my grandma lol. My parents were more the worrying type although I did get away with a few things but mostly because they didn’t know about it lol. My mom was the same with my kids. I haven’t had a chance to be a grandma yet although I’m more than old enough to be – if nothing else I love to play games of any kind and read out loud 🙂

  15. You are one fun grandmother – and Tom is one fun grandfather. I think every time you give them room to fall on their faces they step up to plate and watch out for their own safety a little bit more. That’s such an important feature of growing up. And, oh, the memories they have to treasure about such weekends with you two.

  16. debradixon says:

    Cindy– You are awesome! I remember some of the things we did as kids and getting out there and experiencing life. This is so important for confidence building and for learning to take risks. You go, you!

  17. Robert says:

    Cindy you and Grandpa I am sure are great Grandparents, grandpa would never let anything bad happen to the kids.(I remember how he was with our little one.) I can just see Grandpa with the rope out there in the creek pulling them out,and you cleaning then up.. .Bubber

  18. I lived in a rural area and walked 2 miles to school from the age of 5 til I was 12! And I am not that old!!! Hahahaha!! We played in the creek everyday….bullt forts in the ditches….loved to play in the hay mow! There were 5 of us and we all lived!! Imagine that!! I have the grandkids this Saturday and I think I will ship them out to you!! They would love it!! LOL!!!

  19. Happy to report that at least two children here in Connecticut are allowed to roam the woods sans parental supervision, Cin! No helicopters in sight.

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