I went out to milk this evening, though it felt a lot like a chore. It was dark, damp and cold. Even my light hardly penetrated the night. I get to the barn and start the chores. Even the goats did not want to come out in the wet. All of a sudden, over a door, I saw a flutter of something! It happened again; 5 little fingers looped over the stall door, fingers that quickly disappeared when I called out I saw them. A giggle and stealthy movement reached my ears, and into the barn lunged a shadow, hiding quickly between bales of hay. I continued my chores and the “shadow” ran out, touched a goat, and took off into the dark with a laugh. The boys were obviously inventing a game of “touch the goat without Mom seeing you” :-) It made me smile.
As I went up to the house after chores I called to the boys to come inside for bed, and a light flashed in the swamp, went out, and some rustles. Another flash of light. Silence. I call again and say I am locking the door and my swamp rats had better be inside and I saw the lights come on and the boys made their way out of the swamp. They had enjoyed their adventure a great deal, and I enjoyed seeing it. It all made me think of a blog post I saw on Facebook today about how we raise our children in the United States that is actually not so good. It talked about how in other countries young children play more in school, use sharp tools at very young ages, are responsible for walking distances to school or running to market for food. And that, in these countries, children have fewer accidents in all and are more able to cope and succeed. So, while my heart flutters a bit at the thought of my kids in the swamp at night, and while I know some will tell me I should be holding a tighter reign, I also feel proud of how my boys not only enjoyed a game they made up but that they made it out of that swamp in the dark without any muck on them. Pretty cool, eh? And if you want to read the blog, here it is