Sometimes when I start stressing about how we're ever going to afford to give the children a decent education, if we're running late for Lila's swimming lesson or miss her Wednesday drama class because we're all still in our pajamas, I forget that the best gift we can probably give them is a simple and carefree childhood. These words found here, sum it up well.
"...Being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children 'advantages' that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours."
Whilst it's clearly important that they do learn to swim and how ever much Lila loves racing around with a hoard of other little children pretending to be a lion at her drama class, the days when we have nothing scheduled and just hang out together are nothing to feel guilty about, they're probably the best days of all.
When I think back to my own childhood, the best memories and happiest times I can recall are of my sister and I building dens in the straw bales in the barn, trawling the fields and peering into tree stumps and alongside streams trying to find the mice of the Brambly Hedge books, building rafts to sail on the ponds (and almost drowning my Dad when we insisted he tested their floating capabilities out first, but that's another story). Not the relentless round of tennis, swimming, horse riding, music and ice-skating lessons. Whilst we did enjoy these, and indeed bugged our parents unceasingly until they broke down and agreed to let us do several of them, they can all too quickly become a bind and bore.
So whether Lila and Rose will find as much enjoyment as I did in whiling away Summer afternoons crushing up flower petals and leaves to make questionable 'perfume' remains to be seen, but I'll make sure they definitely have the freedom to find out.
Side note: My sister recently told me we had an ongoing game which went on for many months where we pretended we ran a mountain biking school and made ramps and jumps out of random pieces of wood and other things we found lying around and attempted to clear them on our little bikes. So funny (although slightly concerning that I have no memory of this. Surely it's a bit early for the onset of old-age memory loss??)
Picture above of Lila (and my) adventures with pavement chalk. Yes, I was loving it.