Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Notes from the Hammock: Unscripted Childhood

After the "winter that would not end" and the "spring, what spring," summer has arrived in my part of the world, and it is glorious! For me this means that I can *finally* let my energetic Big Kidlet, who is now a newly self-sufficient three year old, putter around the backyard without (constantly) worrying that he will get himself injured by all manner of harmful hazards my first time mother brain has obsessed over since he first toddled away from me; although, he did learn this week that the water in his water/sand table is most definitely NOT for drinking, courtesy of an aching tummy. This also means introducing Little Kidlet to the joys of being lazy in the hammock, emphasis on "lazy."

I'm not one of those "go-go" mothers who ferries my kids to endless classes, preschool drop-offs, or even overly many playdates. I chose to stay home and find another professional path, and we make lots of sacrifices to be able to make that happen. Part of this is consciously reactionary to the culture I find myself raising my kids in, and partially it is just "what feels normal" to me.

I grew up in a small rural town, and was an only child. My mother stayed home with me while also pursuing her MBA. She didn't view motherhood as "cruise director." Often I would be away for the entire day, returning tired and dirty from my ramblings. I was bored ALOT. I was often lonely to. But I also developed an ability to just be in the moment, something I struggle to regain in adulthood. I would climb on the back of my horse grazing in the pasture and lay on his back and just listen. I developed an imagination. I was always happiest in the barn storage where my mom stored the artifacts of my parents' lives, and I imagined I could play the trumpet I found there like Chet Baker, or read my mother's Pippi Longstocking books written in Norwegian.

Today, the birds were singing in the sunshine we've waited months for, and I took some time with my boys to once again just listen, to not have an agenda for the experience or the learning I wanted them to have, and simply be with them. I lay in the hammock and watched what my boys were learning. Little Kidlet and I gently swayed with the trees above us as he attempted to grab anything he could get his hands on, and Big Kidlet attempted to coax the birds to the birdbath, with calls of "here birdie, come and take a break and have a drink."

The deck needs to be redone, my house doesn't keep up with the Jones', I am an oddity because my kid isn't going to preschool, and I clearly need a pedicure, but I am so so blessed to be able to be right where I want to be, giving my kids some measure of the wonder of an unscripted childhood that I was given.

My greatest pride is found in the small exchanges (endlessly peppered with questions) that I have with Big Kidlet as he asks me: "Can I be an animal rescuer mommy, can I...in my imagination?" To which I reply: "Yes, honey, in your imagination you can be anything."