Prairie Flower Memories

Weekly Writing Challenge: I Remember

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I started my morning off with a bang as my teenage daughter and I went head to head over her cell phone usage.

I simply wanted her to put the thing down long enough to pick up her room and clean her rabbit’s cage. About 20 to 30 minutes worth of work total. She proceeded to plop down on the floor and start talking to her boyfriend, which then caused my temper to flare. Before too long, there were tears and slamming doors, because she had left me with no choice but to take the phone until she did what I asked of her.

After this little temper tornado had passed and all was right with the world again, I loaded my kids up in the car. I needed to go do some work on the apartment that I had started painting yesterday at the property that my husband manages, and I was already getting a later start than I had planned.

As I sat on the sofa in my husband’s office recounting the morning’s events to him before I got started, my son walked in and started to complain about how bored he was because his sister was using the office computer.

It was at that moment that I looked at my husband and said, “You know, I remember summers and weekends as a kid, when I’d wake up, throw on some clothes,  inhale a bowl of cereal, and be off to play…outside. I just couldn’t wait to get there.” He strongly agreed, and we spent a minute or 2 reflecting on simpler times.

I remember…

My ‘Prairie Flower’ bike, with colorful plastic beads on the spokes. ‘Spokey Dokeys’, they were called. It had a horn. It had a basket. It had handlebar tassels. It had a banana seat. It had style.

I remember…

How proud I was that I taught myself to ride that bike. “Daddy, take off my training wheels, please, I feel like a baby. None of my friends have training wheels.” Whoosh. I was gone.

I remember…

Matt, the neighbor boy, teaching me how to jam a crushed soda can in between the rear tire and the fender to get it to make a sound like a dirt bike.

I remember…

Riding that bike down to the creek with my friends to catch frogs. I would bring them home in a bucket, much to the dismay of my mother who would glare at me and tell me to keep my frogs out of the house.

I remember…

Outgrowing that bike. My Prairie Flower made way for a new ten speed left in front of the Christmas tree. Years later, I felt a pang of sadness when I ventured into a corner of the shed and saw her there, collecting cobwebs and silently rusting away.

Most importantly, though, I remember…

That I didn’t need technology to be happy as a child. I was wild. I was free. I was everywhere. I was a Prairie Flower…and from dawn until dark, I was drinking in the sunshine and blowing in the breeze.

We may live in a different age now. It’s not as safe as it used to be. Kids can’t always play outside without supervision, however…

My son has no upper body strength because he’s never climbed a tree. He’s never dug a hole. He’s never built a Teepee out of sticks and branches. He’s never picked wild strawberries. He’s never chased fireflies. He’s never caught a frog. He’s never learned to ride a bike.

I blame myself. In my busy world, my chaotic life, I’ve allowed electronics to become a babysitter. I’ve robbed my kids of the pure, simple, childhood pleasures…and memories…that I once enjoyed.  Those warm, fuzzy ones that you can jump into from time to time like a big blanket pile in the corner of your mind.

I think it may be time to set aside computers, cell phones, and X boxes for some good old fashioned sunshine, fresh air, and freedom. Then maybe, just maybe… with any luck…it won’t be too late for my kids to make their own Prairie Flower Memories.

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