So often, I hear people lamenting that they cannot go back and enjoy their childhood: the simplicity, being carefree, the joy of impromptu games like Kick the Can, Freeze Tag, or Hide and Seek. Somehow, the food was tastier, the air fresher, the summer cooler, worries and concerns were non-existent. To have been a child whose grandparents owned a farm was just icing on the cake.
I long to tell them that living the life of a child in summer doesn’t have to be a memory, a dream or unattainable. I am considered an ‘old woman’ by many, and still often re-live my childhood. The trick is to refuse to live by the standards and dictates of age.
Most will agree there is an inordinate amount of work to do on a farm. In doing any chore, there is a choice. They can be done with grumbling and considerable dragging of feet, or they can be approached with a light-hearted attitude with an anticipation of fun. With a gentle reminder of safety, I love to play ‘chase’ with the new calves. When first opening the gate, one will come running to greet me. With soft steps, I will ‘run’ towards them, only to have them stop, turn and gallop the other way. Then it is my turn to halt, turn and quickly move away. The calf then will try and sneak up on me until I stop and spin around. Granted, I have to be careful which ones to play tag with. Some of them are too skittish; some have Mamas that whisper, “So you want to play tag? I’ll play tag with you.” And those words aren’t exactly issued in a happy-go-lucky, friendly manner. When her head lowers and her front foot scratches the ground, both baby and Farm Wife know it’s time to behave or pay the consequences. Yes, there are times that my inner child gets me grounded all over again, which I never liked the first time around, either.
Around the time to close up the coop for the night is about the time a rousing game of Hide and Seek ensues. There is always one or two who have escaped the confines of the fence and hang around outside. Knowing the dangers of leaving them outside at night, I begin the game by counting to ten. There is a rustling in the leaves, and next thing you know a blur of feathers fly from the copse of trees to underneath the coop. A couple of circuits around, and the games of Chase, Hide and Seek and Tag all roll into one. It takes stealth to finally outwit them and either grab them up (although you really have to be quick) or herd them through the gate and into the coop. I have yet to figure out if I am getting better at this game, or if the escapees are just getting tired faster.
As night falls, I love to sit out on the steps and count the fire flies. Of course, I never have a true number, as I probably count each one several times, but just the fun of seeing their little tail ends flicker with a golden light sends me straight back to an early age of no worries, no responsibilities.
There is no excuse not to allow your inner child escape very now and then. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend a trip to the park. Don’t be embarrassed – take a seat on a swing; go sailing down the slide; take a whirl on the merry-go-round. There is nothing like the feeling of the wind through your hair and laughter bubbling up from your very depths to explode with joy through the air.
And while you’re at it, go ahead and stop for a snow cone on your way home. Having a blue tongue for a few hours is a great souvenir of a wonderful day. Just don’t get yourself grounded. If you do, don’t call me. I’m still working on two weeks-worth after trying to play with Carmine.