This is our first house with a fence. A simple wooden structure that encloses our backyard doesn’t seem like much. In fact, it was built years ago and no one ever stained it. To me, it provides a safe place to let the children run free while I supervise through the kitchen windows. To my kids, it’s the boundary around their kingdom.
As I sit here at the kitchen table with my laptop, the big kids are out back playing. It’s a beautiful spring day with a clear blue sky. A large, leafy tree is giving the backyard plenty of shade. Looking out the window, I see my kids running back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. We have a toy bin on the deck that occasionally gets used, but for the most part, they just run around.
My three-year-old girl is seeking refuge under a tree, while her big sister walks around picking flowers and looking for little creatures. It looks like she found a caterpillar that she’s gingerly carrying around to show everyone. My son is running laps, no doubt on a grand imaginary expedition.
There’s soft music on the speaker playing here in the kitchen, the laundry running in the background. Other than that, it’s quiet.
Being an at-home dad, I have hours each day with my kids. They’re constantly looking to me for guidance, direction, and programming. That’s a great thing, but it’s also great for them to have their space. It’s a great thing for them to turn on their imaginations and to be curious about the world around them. It’s a great thing for them to be out in creation, free to do as they please. They run, they hunt, they explore, they play, they connect.
When they come inside, their little cheeks will be all flush. In those minutes that they spent in the backyard, they were whatever they wanted to be and exactly who they are. Backyards are special places.
Tags: Gratitude Parenting