Grab a coffee, let me tell you a story.
I grew up on a farm outside a village of 800 people. Most roads are marked with signs like this one:
My grandmother’s father had built the farm house in 1920. The house has survived three generations of my family. My dad still lives there.
The house and barns need some work, but that’s a story for another time.
My dad’s siblings all moved away, and then moved home when my grandfather gave them each a plot of land to build a house on. We grew up surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins. My uncle still watches the farm house from his place to make sure that my dad gets home ok each night.
My dad’s best friend growing up has a farm about 10 minutes away. His daughter and I grew up together, she is basically another sibling to me. Some of the best memories I have from my childhood are going over to their place spur of the moment. We spent the next four hours listening to our dads’ banter back and forth. Anyone who says that men don’t talk as much as women needs to meet my father and my uncle Bob. They would laugh until tears ran down their faces.
I have the same sort of friendship with the daughter. We laugh ourselves stupid.
In a town of 800 people, with aunts and uncles and best friends just a jump away, you get away with nothing. Growing up in that kind of environment kept my siblings and I on the straight and narrow (for the most part) more than anything threat from my parents. Trust me, you do not want to get into so much trouble that it gets published in the newspaper. The newspaper was always looking for something good to write.
One day, after I had my license, my dad asked me to go into town and pick my sister up from school. I might have been a little heavy on the gas pedal leaving the village. And I might have passed the one gas station a little fast. Maybe. After I picked my sister up from the coffee shop where she worked and we headed home. My dad greets me as I walk in the door with “I hear you were in a bit of a rush to get out of town”.
Uh oh. I had been out for less than an hour.
Fast forward 17 years (oh my God, has it really been that long?) and I have my boys. My husband went to his Wednesday night training at the fire station. Before training one of the other guys asked him if Boy #1 has mentioned that he got detention that day with a friend.
“No, but please, tell me the story you got” Boy #1 has no idea what he’s up against in our house, let me tell you.
The next night, we’re sitting down to dinner and Husband asks Boy#1 if there was anything he would like to tell us. Puzzled look and no, nothing.
“Are you sure? Nothing about a detention you had to serve yesterday?”
The boy then realizes that he’s busted and fesses up. What he did was minor and irrelevant. The important lesson of the story is that mom and dad know all. He doesn’t know that we heard it through the grapevine. Boy #1 still thinks his teacher called me at work.
In this moment, one of my wishes for my kids came true. I want them to grow up in a space where they were safe enough to test their boundaries. We have built a community around us through hockey and the fire station that made this happen.
I love when dreams come true right before your eyes.