I read somewhere once that there weren't enough swing sets on American Farms. Where were all the young families raising the next generation? The yards and barn lots were all nicely manicured with nothing out of place; only people without young kids had time for that.
Well there is no doubt when you cruise past our place we have kids. Some days you might think we have 20, but my husband and I only have three – they're sometimes messy, and always active.
Our oldest graduated high school last week and I have been attempting to make the place presentable for her open house. It's obvious it isn't the showplace that others' yards are. We joke that we don't spray the weeds in our yard – they are the only thing keeping it green!
But I do notice one thing. As our kids get older, our yard is changing.
I finally moved the swing set out of the yard and cleaned up the sand pile/toy graveyard/weed garden. It looks so much better, but it makes me sad at the same time. I know someday I will really miss it.
I have a perpetual dirt track in my yard from four-wheelers, dirt bikes and most currently Johnny Poppers. I have heard my husband, say to the kids to stay out of "Mom's yard," but I tell them I don't care. I would much rather see them having fun riding and being kids than a nicely manicured yard.
Back to that sand pit – I think it's amazing how you can watch the phases in your life change through the landscape of your yard. It tells a story, it tells who lives in the house, who is making it a home.
As I type, my middle child is singing to her heifer as she washes it. My youngest is leaving tractor tire ruts seeing how tight he can turn the Johnny Popper in the grass. They are filling the planter in the barn lot right behind the house.
While the front of the barn will be a muddy mess, on display for all who attend our open house, I am happy. Each divot is a part of who we are as a family, and that is more important than perfection.
The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.