Kids will be Kids

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
I genuinely love watching kids be kids. There is a sweetness and innocence in their inquiring minds. I love that they are not bound by the restrictions of time and don’t feel the need to worry about what someone might think; they aren’t willing to carry the weight of the world’s politics. As parents, having a little girl with a pink sundress stained with Kool-Aid, piggy-tails undone and misplaced shoes exposing dirty feet are the best testimonies to a great day and time well-spent.

I love those fun family outings where everything in nature becomes a playground. The kids climbing the trees, hiding behind stalks of wheat and potted flowers…nothing safe, all of the “great outdoors“ becoming a witness to the time spent together. Those emotions stay etched in our hearts, something even a photographer can’t capture.
To me, summer has a special rhythm to it. I grew up in a household where my dad was (and still is) a teacher. Anyone that knows him knows he has never, ever taken time off. There is no one more dedicated to children and to developing life-long learners than my dad. Even in the summer months after a long day in the field, you could find him tutoring someone in our home. The mandatory change that came every June with the ending of the school year always brought a welcome relief for me. I wasn’t a great student and to my dad, teacher extraordinaire, that had to have been frustrating. That,coupled with the fact that I didn’t particularly like structure, put my dad and I on the opposite ends of both of those issues.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love learning—I did—but the weight of the world had caught up with me early in life. Having to deal with some of life’s harder issues didn’t leave a lot of room to add more into my already-confused mind. I was adopted at the age of eight. And by almost anyone’s standards the first eight years of my life were tragic, so I don’t recall ever really being a child, at least not one whose days were carefree. (Many of my friends today would say I have made up for lost time, as I tend to be more mischievous then I ought to be. I have since learned to laugh and to breathe and to be…)
Even today, as my own children anticipate the last day of school, my mind sing-songs the old rhyme…no more learning, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks. I find myself giddy with anticipation of the possibilities for the next three months.
I loved the freedom that was ushered in, come June. As the last bell rang, announcing summer, I knew that change was at the door. I knew Dad would trade his dress pants and tie for bibbed overalls and plant himself behind the wheel of some farm vehicle. It was during those summer months in the wheat fields that I was able to connect with my dad…not the teacher and mediocre student but rather the two creative souls. Then, the writers in us seemed to come out and provide common ground on which to build an understanding. We found a common thread. To this day, during the summer you will still find my dad sitting on a tractor or swather or driving a wheat truck. And I still love to go and spend time riding shotgunand comparing notes. He has been my biggest and best cheerleader and I his.
I have come to believe that summer has to be in partnership with the free spirit. Everything lends testimony to it…summer romances, life-long friends you meet at junior high camp, making friends with someone that you may not even notice in the halls or down main street, road trips, skinny dipping and back yard barbecues. Summer seems to scream, “Bring on the changes.”

It is never too late to let that inner child go—to try something new to break out of the mediocrity of everyday life. No matter how your life started I know that it can be amazing until the end. If you don’t know how, go to a family BBQ and park your chair under a tree, or sit in a city park and watch the littlest among us. You will discover that in their world it isn’t about titles or possessions, or even about what happened the day before. It is about being in the moment, free of time, space and judgment. It is about the freedom to just be.

I don’t know about you, but I can hear the school bell just about to call in summer, and I can’t wait. Kids (no matter what age), will be kids.

  1. O'Dell Merchant says:

    Hi Rene’. I just received my first issue of MaryJane’s magazine….just love it! Your note made me think of my last visit with my l yr old granddaughter. I read a picture book of farm animals to her, making all the sounds of the animals. some she tried to repeat after me. Then we went to her mom’s chicken coop and she showed us the baby chicks. I then repeated the "peep-peep" of the chick, and the look on her face, when she realized I was making the sound of the chicks in the book! She gave us a big smile and laughed. It was cute to see her connect the story with the real thing. She then took one little finger, to pat the baby chick. I just love being a grandma! (I grew up in an old farmhouse in CT…and like you my early years were not without some real pain. But having grandchildren (5 in all) helps make up for it…and I feel like a kid again with them!
    Keep up the fun stories……O’Dell M.

  2. Noeletta says:

    This is a little bitter sweet. I hope that we will be able to always laugh and play like children, even at 72! 🙂

  3. Gary says:

    Wonderful Bloggie Rene’…!
    Your photos capture the sense of High Adventure, which enriches the lives of Country Boys and Girls.
    I remember vividly going to the barn long before dawn and milking… rolling the cans down to the road on a cart to be picked up by the Dairy truck, and picking up yesterday’s empties with milk money envelope inside, while Ganny gathered eggs. Breakfast from Ganny’s cast iron wood stove, with a pitcher of still warm milk and bowl of ice cracked from the block in the ice chest on the table.
    Thank You for the walk down Memory Lane…! and…
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  4. Grace~katmom says:

    Oh Rene,
    So true!
    I taught Pre-school for 10 years and I truly believe that children need to be children…they grow up soon enough and have to deal w/the issues of life,,,but for now let them play!
    There are days when I am out in my ‘garden of weedin’ all grimmy & stinky and I think,,,Ah! it feels good to be a kid again!.
    We as a society are losing sight of "teaching Children how to play", not just computer games but actually get outside with a brown paper bag, fill it w/nature stuff, dump the goodies on a table to assess their finds and then glue all those wonderful goodies on an old ceral box that has been cut into squares perfect for holding mini pinecones, twiggs, leaves, snail shells…well you get the picture…In fact I think parents miss out on one of the most wonderful joys & blessings,,,,playing outside in the sunshine with their children….on that note I think I will go out side & be a kid again,,,,I know, I know, don’t slam the screen door!

  5. Hedy says:

    I’m admire you for not letting your formative years determine who you are. So many suffer all their lives over a tragic childhood instead of working to put it behand them and creating a new "me". Kudos.



    Thank You for that!  I feel blessed that I learned, somewhere along the way, that I get to wake up every day and choose who I am and what my life and the life I live will be like and look like. Often, I think we forget that "we" are in the drivers seat. We have a section in the MaryJane Magazines called "Every Woman has a story". And nothing is more true. We all have one and either we are writing it… or we are allowing someone else too. I just decided to pick up my own pen… Blessings to you! 

  6. SusieQ says:

    I love the story…. and I love the last photo….. that is so him…. thanks for sharing….

  7. Dalyn says:

    Wonderful post! Can’t wait to talk with you face to face Saturday *U*

  8. Aunt Jenny says:

    Wonderful story!! 5 of my 7 children are adopted…all from backgrounds that were very awful…none as infants, and I am amazed and inspired by them each day.It is wonderful to hear from an adopted kid’s side how things are and to see what a great person you turned out to be!
    Summertime is a wonderful time to see them really cut loose and be kids..and what kids!!!
    I LOVE that my oldest daughter’s NAME is Summer (wish I had picked that myself!!!)What a fun season to be named for, right? It really fits her too! I work at an elementary school and love that I am off work when the kids are out of school..we work together in the garden and play together…fishing, and exploring. I guess Moms will be kids too, right?


    I think I do the mom thing "best" when I am willing to look at life through the eyes of my children.

  9. Reba says:

    Great blog, Rene. I was blessed with one child (now 28 years old). She has taught me much about life. She has been a very patient teacher by the way. I could only have one, so I love life everyday knowing that she is in it, regardless of what may happen. To look at how she has responded to the environment and others around her showed me lessons in freedom and being spontaneous and what love is really about.

  10. Michele says:

    Love it Rene’,
    But its not only the kids that look forward to summer vacation.
    I remember when my girls were young and I couldn’t wait for school to be out. No more schedules, no more tears while one of them struggled with home work.
    And the freedom for them to do, and be, whatever they chose everyday.
    My girls and the neighborhood kids would put on elaborate stage plays ( think "Annie") where casting and rehearsals would take weeks of their time and we parents were rewarded with big Kodak moments when they finally had opening night in August.
    The best part about summer for me was once again being the most influential person in their lives, at least for a few months, I didn’t have to compete with teachers and scout leaders, etc.
    Oh, for those carefree days

    Michele~ SO true. I am one of those moms too.. Love the more relaxes scheduels that come with the summers.

  11. Missy Tollison Henson says:

    I just got my first magazine and I love it – it is so much like me. I love growing my own food, raising chickens, letting my kids run around all summer barefoot, hanging sheets on the line and living a slower paced lifestyle. This magazine suits me just fine!! My dream is to one day have my own working farm and orchards and have all my kids and their kids help me around the farm! Great job on MaryJanes’s Farm!

    Thanks Missy!

  12. Missy Tollison Henson says:

    I just got my first magazine and I love it – it is so much like me. I love growing my own food, raising chickens, letting my kids run around all summer barefoot, hanging sheets on the line and living a slower paced lifestyle. This magazine suits me just fine!! My dream is to one day have my own working farm and orchards and have all my kids and their kids help me around the farm! Great job on MaryJanes’s Farm!

    Thanks Missy!

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