Living on a Cul-de-Sac Is One of the Last Remaining Ways To Give Kids an Old-Fashioned Childhood
Life on the cul-de-sac—it just hits different. The houses might look the same as those on through streets, the yards similar in size, but the kind of upbringing it can provide, well that's something else entirely. When my husband and I set out to find a house to raise our family, our list of requirements was as follows: more bedrooms than our current home, more bathrooms than our current home, and preferably a garage though we would take a carport. We weren't trying to be picky, but even if we were, it's very doubtful a cul-de-sac lot would have made it onto my list of must-haves.
Our children were one-and-half and three when we moved in. Within days, we saw how this 2,300-square-footer was an integral part of the little world that is our dead-end street. Neighbors popped over to check in, introduce themselves, and bring cookies, not uncommon for tight-knit communities (cul-de-sac or not), but that was just the start. Once we were added to the street's group text, it's been all Easter egg hunts, water slide Labor Days, and anyone-have-a-cup-of-sugar ever since. Two little green turtles holding red flags at the start of the street warn that children are at play here, and it's always true. Any given day you'll see our little team of 10-and-unders darting from one front yard to another, knocking on doors to see who's home, and systematically switching between "Big Kid" and "Little Kid "jump sessions on one of the two "community" trampolines.
My children have a false sense of security in this little piece of the world. More than once I've looked up from my kitchen sink window to find one of them three houses up, staring up to the sky as they laze on one of the street's tree swings. I run out with pink rubber gloves still on my hands to the assurance of any one of my neighbors who inevitably (and thankfully) were outside at the time and were planning to bring the child in question back over before they went in. It's more than a bit scary when you find your child somehow meandered out and down the street, but I also cherish the fact that they feel safe and loved here in their home that goes beyond our brick walls. They won't always have that sense of security, but it's a blessing that we are able to give them that kind of childhood when we can.
Bored is a word that we rarely hear in our home, and I believe the cul-de-sac is to thank. They want to be outside until the lightning bugs start to flicker and their bellies start growling for dinner. I love that. I love looking out my window to see our friends across the street pulling out their homemade waterslide and sprinkler, knowing that the group text is about to start blowing up with who is heading over when. I love that our children know the joy of hearing friends outside and running to put their shoes on to join in on the fun. I love that there is literally no game, device, or show that can keep them inside when the cul-de-sac is hopping. I love that they're getting a little slice of old-fashioned childhood, even if it only happens when they're home on this itty-bitty corner.
I'm not naïve enough to believe that things will always be this simple and easy or that our days will always end with the feeling of being dead tired but oh-so grateful, but that's just what I am. I'm grateful my husband and I have been able to, in an unintentional way, hit rewind on some of our own childhood highlights and allow our children lives that don't revolve around touch screens and logins. And as for the "community" trampolines, I'm grateful for those too. Never hearing, "Mom, can we get a trampoline?" is proof enough that we hit the real-estate jackpot.