Yesterday I posed a question - whether rural living or "neighborhood" living is better while raising kids. I got several responses (and hope to get more), and I began to think of my own family and three kids. They grew up in university towns, East Lansing and Stillwater, during their nursery school and primary school years. When we moved to rural Kansas, it was when the kids were in secondary and middle school. The three kids requested a "country" home at this move.
Maybe we made a smooth sail of it because we tried to give the kids what they wanted. I don't know the answer to my own question, although I have such fond memories of our kids playing in the snow in East Lansing with all the other kids whose back yards backed up to ours. And the kids in Stillwater, walking up and down University Avenue to their playmates' homes all over the place. Talk about a 'hood! The summer when college boy Graham was maybe eight or nine, he awoke early every morning, ate a bowl of cereal, and was out the door and down the street to "the twins' house", where a collection of sports-minded young boys seemed to gravitate every morning and every evening, the entire summer. That is a top slot in my maternal memory - he was so eager to GO PLAY.
And then later we moved here, on ~ 15 acres plus a creek, horses, dogs, and miles of open space to roam. We have all loved it here. I think in moving to the country, we gave our kids a home where they could explore, and plant, and observe all things in nature: the seasons, the weather, wildlife, the stars in the dark night sky. Time to think and to dream. And lots of learning to be done out in the country - I think more so than "in-town" growing up.
I guess, Amy, all-in-all, I like the way we did it: neighborhoods in early childhood, and country life, when kids are capable of savoring it. I think our kids did indeed savor it. I realize not every family can pick and choose; some families live in a big-city brownstone complete with subways their entire years. And some live out in the middle of nowhere and find that it's the perfect fit.
Maybe the answer is to hang your hat where the hook is and make it good. Yes?