Earlier today I read a blog by @IAmWitWitWoo about her weekend on a budget and how it made her feel. http://witwitwoo.com/2012/06/12/5625/ (I don’t know how to do the little link thingy yet – if someone can tell me that would be great!)
This made me think about what I remember from my childhood, from my own childrens childhood and what they remember.
Confession time – I am old. I am over 50 (OK, I so don’t feel that old, but to my kids I am ancient and come from another age in history and time) and when I was a girl there was a lot more freedom, less traffic. We played in the street, rode pretend horses in the garden, went to the park on our own, at the age of 10 I can remember going across a major city every weekend by myself on the bus very early in the morning to go and spend the day at a stables (heaven!). I used to go out on my bike for the day and come back when it was dark, no mobiles.
We moved from the major city when I was 12 after my parents had separated, to a small town, again I had a lot of freedom, my parents had separated, I stayed with my Dad along with my siblings, and we discovered the delights of a step-parent. Eventually we were split up and my 3 siblings went to live with our mother in another county. I stayed where I was. Maintenance money to the others was always a source of tension. They got a clothing allowance, I didn’t. They got holidays, I didn’t and so on. I had very little new stuff. Nothing that was trendy, and until I got a Saturday job I had no money to call my own. We never went anywhere, unless it was to go and see the other siblings.
When I got married my hubby and I decided that if we could afford something we would buy it, we wouldn’t have anything on credit. So that was how we worked it. Then when our children were born, we looked at our money and we worked out that we could just afford for me not to work so long as we were very very careful with our money.
We made do with second hand or cheap babyclothes, toys came from bootfairs (duplo that I still have today) and as they grew we were careful to make sure that although we didn’t have a lot, that the boys had time spent on them. We would make time to go out with them, we would go puddle jumping, or walking and not worry about the mud, or the wet. I have lots of memories of both boys riding their little bikes through puddles and shrieking with delight. Also memories of them falling off bikes when older and breaking arms etc.
My oldest vividly remembers the year he went to School on a sledge because it was so snowy I couldn’t go by bike. They both remember the year that it snowed here in the forest and schools were shut, but we didn’t know and they had been the first to walk across the playing field on the way to School, only to have to come home again and play in the garden – hardship?? I don’t think so!
They both remember when we moved down to the Forest going for walks and the leaves and sticks they collected. Why do boys have to collect sticks? Is it a caveman thing?
They loved baking with me, they loved making things for other people. We made biscuits for our neighbours and delivered them in cellophane – the boys allowed to go and do this by themselves. They are both good and confident cooks now.
They graduated to going to the park on their own (scary) and to riding bikes around the town. Even scarier now they both drive!
They didn’t have a home computer, they didn’t have game boys, or Nintendos (but every one else in my class has got one – they used to say..)
I can still remember the day my eldest came home and asked if we could get divorced please. Why? I asked. Because if you were divorced we would have lots of toys and treats. That’s what happens when you get divorced. He was about 9. How sad is that? Out of his class of 30 there were only 5 whose parents were still together.
My boys had nagged me for laptops and mobiles as they got older, we couldn’t afford it, despite me going back to work part time as we were renovating a house, trying to provide holidays they would remember (we had a caravan and went away a lot using cheap sites), with a saving scheme that would provide a bit of a lump so we could go abroad every 5 or 6 years we managed to get to Florida and to Mexico (the former self catering, the latter all inclusive) and a memorable trip in a motorhome to Canada to see their Uncle. So, when they were old enough they both had paper rounds. They earned their money and bought their own electrical gizmos. The downside to this was that I couldn’t take them away as a punishment because they belonged to the children!!
Both boys belonged to the Scout Movement and got a great deal out of it, by volunteering as Leaders so did we. For several years our holidays as a family were on Cub Camp or Scout Camp – not necessarily together, but much enjoyed by all.
Luckily, the boys have never been into designer gear, I would have hated that I think.
It scares me when I see the confidence with which children use electrical stuff these days, yet they have no idea when given natural stuff to play with. They don’t seem to be able to use their imaginations to occupy themselves. The DVD things for the backs of cars for example. What is wrong with looking out of the windows? Playing guessing games? making up words out of number plates, car snooker, number plate darts etc.
I was so pleased that Kate was playing I-Spy (even if she does always lose!!), it is the fun things that kids remember, not the toys, remember when your babies were little and they loved playing with the paper and the box the present came in?
Remember giving them a saucepan or baking tray and a wooden spoon and letting them get on with it?
Remember giving them a paintbrush and a bucket of water to paint the house or the pavement with in hot weather?
Remember the snuggles? the hugs? the kisses? you don’t get that from a computer! I can only remember one hug from my Dad and that was on my wedding day. My boys have always had hugs. I have also always told them I am proud of them and that I love them (even if sometimes I don’t like them or what they are doing very much!)
What do you remember of your childhood? of your childrens? What do you want them to remember?