Words by Deborah O’Ferry, Writer – we once again welcome Deborah to the FPL team as a guest blogger – she brings us a unique and real-life perspective on outdoor living, the difference landscaping and outdoor dreaming can bring to a household.
When I was little, I had a cubby house.
Four – actually.
One was an old, decrepit, cement roller. It sat dormant under an equally decrepit slippery dip at the back of our yard where the grass grew long. I loved it. I had one of mum’s old frying pans and I baked dirt like Jamie Oliver bakes…anything! It was rustic and messy, and it was my heaven.
Another was my penthouse cubby. It was at the side of the house and in a modest mango tree. It’s three main branches jutted out in a way that I could easily climb, sit or perch a slab of wood to lean on – I’d draw and write about how much I hated my brother. If I were in trouble, it was up that mango tree I’d be found.
When I was playing with my brother (rather than hating him), we’d make the bottlebrush tree on the medium strip our cubby house; it’s bark was rough, but the extra branches meant there was plenty of room for two.
My fourth cubby was our dog’s kennel. It was brick with a brittle green roof and was blanketed with undeniably smelly dog hair. I’d snuggle close to our fluffy girl and promise her that she were my best friend, and that I’d love her always…
Each one of these places, admittedly dirty (and possibly gross), still makes me smile. I remember making them my homes. I felt in control of these places when, as a kid, I had control of so little. I felt free and safe in them.
I played and I dreamed.
My kids make their own cubbies now. Out of the same shambles that I used to make my own.
An old tree.
My kitchen table.
Under their beds…and I still love it.
I take a deep breath and accept the mess; my Tupperware buried in dirt, and our cutlery lost amongst the bushes. Because I’m hoping deep down to my own childhood, that they are getting the same out of those cubbies as I did. Freedom.
Freedom to play and freedom to just be.
It’s so easy to forget how our kids might be feeling in life. They are constantly told ‘no’. They hear “I’m just…” countless times a day. They are working things out, about what is right and wrong. They need to request pretty much everything.
But giving them a space to own, letting them create their own rules and recipes…nothing could be better in helping them grow.
Deborah O’Ferry is a mum of two, who dreams even with a lack of sleep. She writes with hope that her honesty will let other parents smile and feel less alone in the battles they never saw coming when they signed up for the parenting gig. Deborah has been writing for a kids and parenting website called Kidabout.com and can be followed here at Deborah O’Ferry on Facebook.
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