Our Big Backyard
Our “backyard” is a sliver of a patio. Our sounds of nature—busy traffic zooming past on the road below. We’re grateful for the patio space, but Jon and I both grew up in the country with big backyards. Without a patch of grass, our townhouse doesn’t quite feel like home.
I spent my early years kicking a ball outside our home, playing flashlight tag, picking strawberries, and sticking my toes in the lake. I’ve always wanted my children to have lots of room to play outside, but instead they pace back and forth on the narrow pavement, pushing teddy bears on their baby stroller and throwing a ball against the stucco wall.
A few weeks ago we ventured east into the Sequoia National Forest. We set up camp in the forest by a beautiful mountain lake. The girls waded in the creek, collected sticks, and built a campfire with their Dad. We hiked through the mountains, scrambled eggs over our Coleman stove, and heckled the squirrels who tried to raid our food.
In spite of the scrapes and bruises and a bout of stomach flu, the girls loved it! They had space to discover and collect their favorite things. Leaves. Rocks. Pinecones. Branches. Dandelions. Bugs. Bees. It was a toddler’s paradise.
As we headed back to the city, it hit me that we don’t have a tiny yard. Our backyard actually consists of forest, mountains, ocean, and lakes. There are thousands of acres to explore in California. Millions of rocks and branches and bugs to collect.
I never imagined I’d be raising my kids in Los Angeles, but we’re taking advantage of all the activities that the big city has to offer. And when we get tired of the crowds, we have a huge backyard just waiting to be explored.