Now that he’s no longer an appendage I can simply feed, change, bathe and stick back in my Moby Wrap, but instead a walking, talking, I-can-do-it-myself-thankyouverymuch individual, there’s a lot more mindfulness required in raising him. It must be true of all parents, that seeing our own children in the throes of childhood, brings our own childhood into sharp focus. I remember what worked, the memories that make me smile; I also remember what didn’t. And I’m trying my best to do what worked and avoid what didn’t.
One of my fondest childhood memories is our backyard. No matter the house, we lived in our backyard. Riding bikes on the patio. Sitting under mango trees. Making sandcastles. Swinging and chatting on the playground. It’s this that I remember most fondly. It’s also why, while house-hunting I was adamant about finding a yard big enough to give my son this same childhood pleasure.
We have yet to buy a new breakfast table. The living room, dining room, and basement remain devoid of furniture and probably will for years to come, but the swing set? We purchased it within the first week of moving in. It took driving all over town, coming to terms with the astronomical sum of money involved [those prices have indeed gone up since my own childhood, but thankful for my parents and their generous birthday gift for their grandson] and waiting six weeks for the installation, and then K renting a truck and hauling mulch, sand, tarp, and shovels spending an entire day in the hot sun clearing out weeds and making sure our son had a soft space to land but now, finally, its up.
I know my son is his own individual person. That my childhood wants and dislikes are not going to be uniformly his. I see this already in a million different ways. I also know that as much as I may try to avoid the mistakes of my childhood, I will make many new and original ones that he will likely point out as he gets older. I do hope that he understands, just as I understand with my own parents, that one does the best they can with what they know. But no matter the finger pointing that adolescence may bring, in the meantime…..
. . . we have this playground and we both unequivocally love it very very much. Amidst laptops, and iPads, and the future I might not understand, this playground is the thread connecting our generations.
With that said, Fort Iqbal is officially up and running! Let the playdates and memories begin!