Childhood Revisited

I can still smell the musky scent of the tattered garage, the aromas of gasoline and mildew wafting in the summer breeze. Four children, all under the age of 12, clamored awkwardly and breathlessly through the leaf-covered ditch to surround and protect “forts” made of chicken wire and tomato planters.

We were brave and strong, yet knobby-kneed and much too young to truly fight the battles of competing clans and raiders of a distant land.

“Dinner’s ready!” mother called out in a soft country accent from the side of the house. We knew what that meant – we had to hustle inside to get cleaned up before the good seats were taken.

My cousins, sister, and I were young and careless, almost reckless with our playful imaginations. We built forts out of rusty scrap metal, nibbled on juicy, unwashed figs from Granddaddy’s bush, and popped soda cans with bee bee guns without the proper eye protection. We didn’t care. We just lived each day to the fullest.

Our parents were satisfied that we were having fun and leaving them alone to converse, as adults tend to do after a long day of work and carpooling.

Twenty years later, the children are the adults, more distant now than ever, and with children, jobs, and responsibilities of our own to tend to. The carefree days are behind us, and we are much too saturated with parenting guilt and round the clock news tragedies to allow our children to behave in the same manner that we once lived for.

I often feel that I am robbing my daughter of the chance to truly be alive. “Wear your helmet if you want to ride your tricycle.” or “Don’t hang off of that tree branch. You might fall and break an arm!”

How does your parenting style differ from that of your parents? Do you take the laissez-faire approach that so many parents of the 1980s subscribed to, or are you more hands-on?


About Classic Mommy | Atlanta Mom Blogger

Atlanta Mom Blogger | Enjoys sweet tea and a good challenge | Dislikes dirty fingernails and whining | Mom to Danger | Wife to Dre | Family Travel Blogger
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2 Responses to Childhood Revisited

  1. Kimber says:

    Our big departure from our own upbringings we have made is our family diet. We have fully cut aspartame out and mostly cut out high fructose corn syrup. Our eggs are cage free. Our meat is at least free-range, grass-fed; at best, organic. I make a lot of our bread. We try to go with whole foods and make it ourselves or we at least make sure we are buying things with “good” ingredients (we have a weakness for cereal and box macaroni and cheese!). I do love how I’m saying “we” to all of this when my husband is 100% supportive of me, but only really cares about how our food tastes! My family thinks we have fallen off the deep end because we don’t buy Poptarts– haha!

    My mom has joked that she is “OSHA mom” and I have carried the tradition on with my kids.
    I will say, as a child who grew up with an “OSHA mom,” I had a wonderful childhood. We always wore helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads when we roller bladed, even when the neighborhood kids were out there with only roller blades on (gasp– no protection!). We recently participated in a neighborhood go-kart race with our four-year old. All the kids were heading on up to the start line, pushing their carts, a couple with helmets on. My son walks up– knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet, and wearing jeans– the only kid wearing full protective gear. And he had a great time! My mom always taught us that safety was the first priority. And people who say, “Oh, we are just in our neighborhood!” Do they realize that most vehicular accidents happen within five-miles of your home? I say keep the helmet on. Have fun and be safe! 🙂

  2. Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? says:

    I think it’s pretty similar. I just feel like I have to worry more about the girls playing outside and “bad people.”

    Then again, we rode in the front seat of the car, didn’t use booster seats and most of us are okay.

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