If you follow me on facebook you saw these pictures yesterday. But there’s more it than just a picture.
You see, my kids built themselves a fort this week using old lattice. It was literally just a pile on the ground in an area behind our garage that I beg them to stay out of because of a large utility box back there. I hate it when they play back there. It’s just dirt and electrical wires, the 2 things that no parent wants their child playing in.
So I figured that the only way to keep them from playing there was to move their fort. So I took the old lattice and some cable ties and made them a little stand up for in the corner of our yard.
It looks terrible and is slightly embarrassing to have in our backyard.
At first I felt like a huge failure as a parent when I looked at it. I’m just giving my kids a pile of junk to play in.
But then it hit me, I’m not giving them a pile of junk, I’m giving them a chance for imagination and creativity.
When I was little I was blessed (am still blessed since he fixes a lot of our house problems) to have a very handy man as a father. He and my mom built us this beautiful playhouse with a baby blue exterior, pink walls and yellow benches on the inside. It was most little girl’s dream come true but honestly not mine.
I don’t remember spending much time playing in it.
What I remember most was this huge concrete block with a gigantic rebar pole sticking out of it that someone had dumped in the woods across the street from our house. It sat on a hill, surrounded by trees and was my sanctuary and playhouse. I hauled blankets and toys across the street each day to make my house. I spent hours looking down from my perch to the red clay cliffs below. We jumped until we were blue on that rebar pole because it was surprisingly springy.
We took hikes from our rock house to the red clay cliffs where we would get stuck up to our knees in the red mud, our mom must have loved it when we came home looking like that. But it was always to rock that I wanted to play on and be right there.
We had a playhouse that kids would have dreamed about but the best time was spent right there on that huge rock, making my own playhouse.
A few years ago I drove by the house I grew up in and now it’s surrounded by homes. There’s no more trees, no more rocks, and the houses are stair stepped down the red clay cliffs. The kid inside of me died a little when I saw that.
So yes, my kids playhouse is embarrassing to me but it’s magical to them. We didn’t hand them a perfect playhouse we gave them a chance to grow their imagination to levels that no one else can understand.
Already last night before they came in at sunset they had added a flag, a plant stand as a stove to the inside of their playhouse and built a log retaining wall around their garden.
Eventually we will get them a sturdier, a little bit less shanty version of their playhouse but until then, they can use their imaginations and grow.
Plus I’m thinking that the playhouse fairy might leave them a basket of ribbon to tie on or maybe a basket of paint and supplies. Who knows? I heard that playhouse fairy might have big plans for our girls.