We all feel the stress of life as a modern-day parent.
School. Work. Traffic. Bills. Politics. Scheduling kids’ activities. Shuttling kids to those activities. More traffic. Sometimes it feels like we are on a wheel that never stops.
To decompress, our family a few times a year tries to visit relatives who live on a 15-acre farm in Sonoma County — about an hour north of San Francisco and just west of Napa Valley.
It is a beautiful vineyard with views of the valley below. Every morning roosters and geese wake you as they go out in search of food and water. The daylight has a soft glow to it that is refreshing and, at night, you can see every single star in the pitch black sky. “Grandpa Stan” — the farm’s owner and resident for the past 30 years — calls it his “little slice of heaven.”
But what I love so much about visiting the farm with the family is the simplicity of the life there. Working the soil with your hands and tending to the grapes. Fixing everything on the farm from a broken ladder to a tractor engine. Picking strawberries and collecting eggs for the freshest breakfast you can ever imagine. All these little tasks are so foreign to our “city kids” but so meaningful because it connects them to the food they eat, the things they own and the people they love (mostly us).
Our kids soak in so much when they are in nature, especially when they are young. My 5-year-old is learning about seeds at her pre-school and she was fascinated every time she identified seeds on the farm. And my 2-year-old is into dirt — picking it up, crumbling it in his fingers … tasting it. And there was lots of dirt for him to play with on the farm.
As “city dads,” it isn’t such a bad idea to take our children out of the city every once in a while. A little time to commune with nature and to learn where things come from and how to make them. Maybe then they can appreciate all they have in the city, too.
Post your stories about your experiences to get the kids out of the city.