When I go home to visit my dad, I watch my kids in the environment that I lived in as a child. I watch them ride tractors, combines, and 4-wheelers. I watch them go to the creek, play in the rocks, and run around in a huge grassy yard. I take them up to the hayloft. I show them the pigs.
Here is an old picture of my son and my dad in the sweetcorn field. A whole field of sweetcorn! He plants it every year and gives most of it away.
I get to take them up in the treehouse that my dad and I built.
Oh the treehouse! I was probably around 11 years old and had always wanted a treehouse. Dad took a whole day off and just the two of us built that thing from scraps we found around the farm and one trip to the hardware store. I loved that tree house. Still do. When I had friends over, we slept in it. My friend Kim and I wallpapered it with comics from my grandma's Sunday paper. She saved them for us for weeks. I have so many memories of that treehouse.
Here it is in the background of this picture. I'm sure you'll have to click on it to see it larger. I need to take a better picture.
My dad built a cabin by the pond. This summer he and my son will go fishing there.
I can still go to the farm and find the wild baby kittens in the hayloft, and when they get a little older I can try to find them again and tame them. It's a talent my sister and I share.
I love that I can do this for my kids. I grew up on that farm, and it meant the world to me to have so many places to go while I was still at home. Home was acres and acres of land that I was free to explore. My sister and I took our Barbies camping at the creek. We built forts and houses out of bales of straw in the hayloft. I spent 8 years in 4-H, caring for and showing animals.
And here I am living in the city. To many people it's probably more like a small town, but it will always feel like the city to me. Also? I love it here in this city. I think it might boggle my dad's mind, but I truly do.
I love the museums, the fountains, the parks, the restaurants, the shopping, the arts. I love the education options for my kids and myself. I still have somewhere fun to go and explore every day. This is a very amazing city with lots of green space. There is always live music to be found.
Every time I go visit Dad, I think about moving back, and finding my own large plot of land. Then I remember all the wonderful things about my city that I would be so sad to leave.
I can't categorize myself. Am I a city girl or a country girl? I think I have the best of both worlds. I get to live in the city where I somehow feel like I belong, and take my kids to the country as often as I like, where I also belong.