I feel like I’m in an old movie when I answer the door to see a gang of all aged kids asking if Lily can come out to play. Ditto when I’m baking or making a meal and see, from the kitchen window, Lily amongst the neighbourhood gang playing on someone’s lawn across the way.

I didn’t grow up in a neighbourhood where I was included into the play of whatever kids lived there. I went to private school away from my neighbourhood and my parents didn’t take us outside often at all, so I never really got the chance to even meet any kids there.

In all our moves over the years, Cam and I have never lived in a neighbourhood that kids were free and outside as much as possible. Perhaps it has to do with the weather here. When it’s good, you go out because when it’s really dark and rainy, it’s not so much fun.

Lily is ravenous to go out and “play with my friends”. It’s what she always wants to do, before anything else. I love this and yet I end up spending a lot of time collecting her when she comes back for meals and at the end of the day. I make an effort to have eye contact, really hear what she’s thinking about…. all these little things we do to re establish our connection or relationship.

Already I see she’s picking up small things here and there that aren’t inline with our values. I don’t worry though, as long as our relationship is intact and strong all the things other people say or do won’t take hold. She tells me these things too and I’ll try and explain why someone would call her a “good girl” as if she were a dog or that the mother really wouldn’t lock her child out of the house if he didn’t get there immediately.

I was just telling a friend about how I’ve met some really great people here, but none with very similar values and interests. That’s totally okay. We take what’s good, leave the rest and create our own peace to fill in the gaps.

We create our own peace by being together and doing things that help reconnect us as a family. Yesterday we went to the park up the street via the forest behind our house. There wasn’t as much of a trail as I thought there would be but we took the time to bush whack and help each other through. It was a fun time exploring, pointing out all that we saw and it was a perfect time to make plans for what we want to get out of the forest in the future. I can’t wait to share all that we accomplish…

Fungus and Moss Mushrooms



(You can now click on the photos to see them bigger and to see the ones I didn’t add here on my Flickr page! Thanks Krista!)

5 Responses to Collecting my Child

  1. Justine says:

    Huh….lots of interesting changes. Great fun for Lily I bet. And a little unsettling for you maybe. Kate would so love to be up there running around with Lily. Just this morning she put on some pink winter tights (we’re having PR-style weather right now!) and wanted Lily to see her in them. So instead we looked at lots of pictures of her and Lily and Leif, and she loved that!

  2. debbie says:

    i would love to hear more of your thoughts on this, annie! my oldest is so social, just thrives on PEOPLE, and while i understand that need, i find i’m also really protective of our space and selective about who we spend our time with, so i struggle with letting her choose all day long who she’s interacting with. i love the thoughts you’ve shared – our reconnection time is often a day spent in the woods, but as she gets older i wonder if this will do it. she’s in a play right now and could spend 100% of her time there, she loves it so much, but again, i don’t know any of the other people, kids or adults, except for her dad who’s the director, and it bothers me, waiting for the “stuff” to filter up through her thoughts and into her conversation, for me to know what she’s processing, etc. it’s sounding over-protective as i write this, but it doesn’t feel quite that way…anyway, would love more thoughts as you explore this!!

  3. Judy Roberts says:

    Good on you, Annie, for navigating these issues.

  4. Annie says:

    Debbie, have you read Hold Onto Your Kids: Why Parents Matter? It goes much more into the problems with peer attachment and keeping a deeper connection with our children.

    I totally here you about how it can seem like over protectiveness from the outside but that’s not it at all. It sounds like we have the same interests in maintaining the family unit as the most important relationship for our children. Friends and other outside connections are so wonderful but the family really does need to stay paramount.

    I’m sure I’ll talk more about this because this is such a new experience for us. We’ve never been day in and day out inundated with friends and the want to play with them!

  5. debbie says:

    oh, how funny! after leaving my comment, i got that book out from the library!! we are definitely on the same page. i read it years ago, when eliza was probably 3, but it has stayed with me and i thought now would be a good time to have another read…

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