Seven years ago I bought a 100+ year old farmhouse on three acres. I didn’t buy it as an investment nor did I need a hobby or have a gift for rehabbing. My wife Kathy and I had just found out that our first grandchild was on the way. I assumed more grandchildren were coming but it didn’t matter how many, I wanted all of them to have wonderful childhood memories. Kathy and I wanted to be a part of creating those memories.
Seven years later, we now have four grandchildren. The farmhouse now features a playhouse, a playset, a tire swing, a motorized kids’ tractor, with a tree house and more in the future. We have had reunions, birthdays, huge parties, bonfires, along with quiet moments with friends and family. My oldest granddaughter and her dad has planted apple trees together. She has had numerous playdates with friends. My two year old grandson constantly begs to go to ‘the farmhouse’ so he can ride my John Deere mower or visit the nearby creek. The two younger granddaughters will get to know the farmhouse better as they get older. They are only 18 months and ten days old, but I can already see them running around, having fun with each other!
My siblings and I did not have precious memories like these. Our memories were harsher and mostly forgotten. We did not have roots, or a father who cared about our well-being, nor did we have grandparents with the means to do what Kathy and I are doing for our grandchildren. I am passionate about giving them a happy childhood. Not a childhood free of rules and limits, but a childhood free of unnecessary fears and full of wonderful, loving experiences.
No, it’s not so simple to buy a farmhouse for creating memories. But for my grandchildren, their parents, and for Kathy and me, the happiest of memories we have had, and will have in the future, will be the simplest of acts—and they happen everywhere, not just at a farmhouse. Let me mention just a few of the things most of us consider 'simply' wonderful.
A picnic, playing catch, skipping rocks, watching airplanes land, buying nachos in the fourth inning, taking a hike in the woods, going to the train station, feeding ducks, watching monkeys at the zoo, sleeping in the back yard under the stars, Fourth of July fireworks, playing hide and seek, riding on grandpa’s shoulders, watching a blazing sunrise/sunset, stomping in a puddle, building a fort, running in the grass, having a snowball fight, jumping on the bed, watching tractors work, going fishing, popcorn at a matinee movie, tea parties, reading books together, watching dad perform magic tricks, seeing your mom dance, riding your bike, being cuddled, homemade waffles on Saturday morning, sharing an ice cream cone, spending a day alone with dad, being sung to by mom, cotton candy at the fair, building sandcastles on vacation, tire swings, ……..there is no end……
Loving attention is the best memory of all--very inexpensive yet very valuable!