I grew up in a tiny farming community in rural north-central Kansas. Only about 300 people, about ten times as many cattle, and a consolidated school district with a couple other small towns. As as kid I knew all my neighbors by name. My grand parents lived just on the other side of town which was just a short bike ride away. I could ride my bike anywhere I wanted really. I graduated my senior year with almost the exact same kids I started Kindergarten with. I had two sets of uncles and aunts who lived in town so I had ready-made playmates with nine cousins.
I think a lot about where I grew up these day especially with our holiday visits back home. I live in a bustling state capital with every shop, restaurant, and service just a short drive away. We have live theater, movie theaters, museums, parks, swimming pools, and access to anything else you could think of that you don’t have in rural life. I love being near all those things. But I have no family where I live. The husband and I both have a 3 hour drive to get to our hometowns and our families.
Sometimes we miss:
– Being able to drop in my Grandma’s house whenever I want. Her door was always open!
– Home cooked meals enjoyed with extended family across a big dining room table
– Wide open spaces with lots of peace and quiet
– Seeing actual stars at night
– Getting waved at and waving at every passing car because it’s probably someone you know
– Neighbors helping out when someone passes or falls ill. No one gets left behind in a small town
– The grocery store where they still have carry out service to your car and help you put your groceries into your car
– The smell of fresh cut hay or grass (even though it makes me sneeze)
– Lazy weekends around the house with my parents
These are the things I am most thankful for. I have formed relationships with friends and family that will last a lifetime. Most of all I just love being able to slow down my life a little bit. I tend to run at full tilt, like all the time. Sometimes everyone needs to take a deep breath and enjoy what’s in front of you. Because it might not always stay that way. Because my parents were under the weather, I got a cozy one on one Thanksgiving with my Grandma. That is a memory I will always cherish. So today I will drink my coffee, help my mom clean the house, and just enjoy life before we have to return to the rat race Monday morning.