I often wonder what the boys will make of their childhood when they look back as adults. Their experiences are so different from those I grew up with, I can’t imagine how it will colour their view of the world. I sometimes worry that they are missing out on playing with neighbourhood kids, the normal experiences of walking to school or roller skating on the pavement outside that I took for granted.
What is normal to them, climbing hay bales instead of play structures, helping out on the farm, hunting for strange treasures in nature, would seem very old fashioned and alien to many children these days. But this is what we have chosen for them, this life of growing and working with rarely a dull moment.
My dream is that the boys will grow up feeling strong and capable, that they will have learned skills in childhood that I am still trying to master. I hope that they will be confident and healthy, full of enthusiasm for life and nature. Of course I worry, I worry that they will remember a life of constant work, that we don’t take enough time for leisure, that we didn’t do enough ‘fun’ things. I worry that their memories won’t match the high hopes I have for them.
But then I watch them spend a full day out on the farm, spending time with their Daddy and our neighbours who have come to help us get this place into shape. I watch them try to work alongside men who’s goal in life is to shape the land and live from it. I see them absorb the notions of hard work and stewardship without a word being spoken.
I know that their life, though far from removed from the modern world, is located on a path less travelled. They don’t watch network tv or go to school, they have no idea what the latest gadgets are but they can tell me if something isn’t right with a chicken. I know it will make them a bit unusual but, that too, is what I want for them. I want them to live a life that they believe is right, not just one that is convenient. But then I worry again, that this is a lesson that may be hard for them down the road as they try and find their place in the world.
Then I come into the kitchen and see this,
Apple blossom and wild flowers gathered from the crab apple tree outside the house and the fields we walk every day. A note written by loving boys who just want to make their Mummy smile. When I see this, done just out of love, I think we can’t be doing so badly after all.