Monday, February 23, 2015

We Walk: A suburban photo essay

Where will the walk take you?
 I love our neighborhood, Mom; it's like a choose your own adventure book because there are so many streets.
My kids are suburban kids. My dog is a suburban dog. My husband and I are both city and suburbs and small town and all the things from moving around. I think attending the same school for more than a year or two in a row was a novelty for him, with parents that traversed the country from left to right on the regular, thanks to the US Navy. For me, it was inner city then small town then slightly bigger town then big city then foreign country then here.
We chose a house in a neighborhood with sidewalks and an elementary school within walking distance. We chose this neighborhood for its "walkability," with visions of the kids on their bikes and rollerskates making tracks up and down the sidewalks. I had visions of my kids enjoying the free rein that I enjoyed as a kid, but within the relative safety of a designated neighborhood. Because we're Generation X and that's how we do.

I would walk these sidewalks after taking her to school, worrying that the sheer uniformity of it all was stifling. It's now how I grew up, it's not the environment that I recall. Would it be enough? She's developing the personality of a warrior. She protests against unfairness. Demands conservation of resources.
I never want to live in the city. I always want to live here, she says.
She doesn't see how the suburbs where we live might be counter to her warrior ways. But this is her battleground. We discuss ways she could make a positive change, right where we live.

As we walk, I try to get her clued into the street signs—I thought at 10 a kid would have a better sense of direction, but it appears not. I prompt her as we go.
You see that street sign? What street are we on? {turns corner} How about now?
I guess I thought they would teach that at school? Seems useful information. Probably something I picked up out of necessity as I explored on my own.
When I'm 16, would you draw me a map so I know how to get places? Like to the pet store if I need a pet? Or the office supply store for pens and papers and what-not? Or the gas station, in case I need a slushy?
I promise her that by the time she starts driving, she'll be able to figure out how to get places.

For now, walking in our neighborhood, the puppy leading us around by the leash, is enough of an adventure for us both.

1 comment:

  1. Very sweet. I love it when you write about your kids, and I always want to read more about the dreams and the grit growing on the wrong side of Milwaukee -- or not the preferred side. Whatever that means. My whole life has been not on the preferred side -- until it wasn't -- and then I preferred the not preferred side after all. Love to you, Mari!!