For most of her life, she has lived in a townhouse on a military installation. She has had a small, bland backyard to play in. She has had a lackluster playground around the corner. She has had lots of other kids to play with. She has waited in line for her parents to show their ID cards to enter her own neighborhood. She has heard cadence calls in the morning, rifles at the gun range during the day, and cannons in the evening. She doesn't like or dislike living on an Army post; it's just what she knows.But I recently took her up to my grandparents' farm, I noticed a difference in her. Although she has never been a farm girl, she was completely at home in the country. She played contentedly on the front porch of the farm house, she clambered around on top of the rock piles, she climbed through the barbed wire fences like an old pro, she managed to get closer to a new calf than I knew was possible, she collected sticks from the pine trees and build a house for her dolls, and she was so happy and so free doing it all. In a suburban neighborhood, I would hardly let my kids get 10 feet away from me. But out in the country, with all that space, they have so much more freedom to explore. If she saw something she wanted to look at, she'd run across the pasture and check it out. Independently.
Right now we are actually looking in to buying an open lot so that when the time comes to settle down, we will have a place to do so, and we have both agreed we'd like to have a place with a little acreage. Seeing this little girl looking so free and so natural on the farm, I was reminded of the most important reason we would like to eventually move out of those townhouses and to a place with wide open spaces: our kids.