Does Your Past Influence Your Health Behaviors?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
As I get closer and closer to sending my children out into the world on their own, I realize how much of their foundation will be carried with them when they go. As we talk about different topics, I am quickly reminded of how my foundation is still carried with me and influences how I teach and train them. As I look at the foundation we have attempted to establish for our children related to living a healthy lifestyle, I am struck by how my own upbringing and experiences have shaped my behavior and directly relate to the choices I make today.

I grew up on a twelve-acre farm as one of a family of six with loving and involved parents and a mother that wanted nothing more than to be home to raise her family. We played in the fields for hours, waded in the creek all summer long (pulled off leeches when necessary), and had regular chores and responsibilities for farm animals and pets. Mother made nutritious meals on a shoestring budget and we ate dinner together each evening and only went to a restaurant on special occasions like our birthday. My younger brother created a chart that hung on the inside of our cupboard to help our mother keep straight which child liked which vegetables so she could rotate them regularly so we all got what we didn't like, equally. She made us a hot breakfast every morning before school and on Saturdays, she would let us eat Pop Tarts or donuts fresh from the bakery that she would surprise us with when she returned from the grocery store. We drank milk or juice if we were thirsty because we had a well and the hard, rusty water tasted horrible. My mother was and still is a terrific cook, makes wonderful pies, and could make SPAM taste good when she used it to top homemade Au Gratin potatoes. Summer holidays brought sweet, rich, cold homemade ice cream and orange juice popsicles from Tupperware molds. On many Sunday evenings we would gather around newspaper on the floor for a picnic of hot dogs and chips or a pizza with my two brothers and I sharing a bottle of soda while watching The Wonderful World of Disney. To make ends meet we grew a large garden with tomatoes, peas, beans, and corn that we would enjoy fresh each summer and work diligently to freeze or can for the winter. We picked fruit from trees that we mashed into sauce and canned for the winter. We cared for cattle that we took to be butchered each Thanksgiving and provided a freezer full of pasture raised beef for the next year. When we got in trouble with our siblings, there was rows to weed in the garden or stalls to muck in the barn and I got a great deal of experience weeding and hauling manure to say the least. Each evening there were things to be picked or snapped and animals to be cared for. Cows were not pets and death was a part of life.

My parents volunteered in our school, church, and community and taught us to do the same. At the same time, I set and achieved many goals in music, athletics, and other extra-curricular areas of life. I participated in 4-H and showed horses for 10 years, played the piano when I was young and the flute and French horn in high school as well as participating in church choirs. I began competitive athletics around the age of ten, started working out in a weight room shortly thereafter and continued a training cycle for the next ten years of my life. In high school I started volleyball conditioning and training each summer before the school year began and since I qualified for the Ohio Track and Field State finals all four years, I didn't complete training and competition until the school year was over while fitting the basketball season in between. I attended college on a full volleyball scholarship, started conditioning immediately after high school graduation and the state track meet, and continued non-stop until the end of the competitive season in the winter of my senior year of college. For eight years someone told me when and how to exercise and for the last four years it was when and how far and fast to run, when and how to strength train and what to eat (sometimes accurate and sometimes not) and how much to weigh.

Today, while I may know the nutritional value of homegrown food or how to create a healthy meal on a budget, I don't like to do either. I do them because I value teaching and training my children much of the lessons I learned but I don't enjoy cooking or gardening. I LOVE to eat out and would do it every day if it were up to me. Gardening is not enjoyable but a chore and nothing tastes better than a thick juicy steak. My pies don't stack up to my mother's, I still love ice cream and my own family gathers for pizza and movie nights in front of the television whenever possible. I prefer exercising on my own and avoid group classes or using a DVD where someone is telling me what to do whenever possible. I set goals, volunteer in our schools and community, fill my days more full than I should and no longer step on a scale unless it is in a doctor's office.

My point in sharing my childhood recollections is to express that we are each unique and much of who we are, the habits and routines we have established and how we view food and activity were shaped by our life experiences and the expectations of others. Some things I love today are because I have wonderful memories of them from my childhood while others evoke the opposite response. Some people never had the experience of competitive athletics and seeing how far they can push and be pushed while growing up and now thrive in it as an adult. For them, the idea of training and running races and improving their time motivates them in new and exciting ways. My life was filled with it and as the saying goes, "I've been there and done that" so it is far from interesting or motivating to me now. I have set and reached many goals, achieved more than I would have thought possible and still hold a few records over 25 years later and feel blessed for the richness of my experiences and opportunities. I have had to learn to acknowledge what motivates me and what hinders me and find new ways to keep eating right and making exercise fun and interesting. Realizing why I make the choices I do and why I struggle with certain things has been helpful as I continue on in my journey to live a healthy life.

What about you, are there things from your childhood experiences and upbringing that influence what you do and how you live today? Are there new insights you can discover that will help you successfully break though barriers that are limiting you from reaching your healthy lifestyle goals?

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I grew up on a farm in the '50s where my father worked hard all day and laughed at JACK LaLANNE doing exercises on TV. He'd say "If that guy worked with me one day, he'd be worn out." So, I was NOT encouraged to do "exercises" and my brother and I were told NOT to get dirty or sweat, since my mother kept the house spotless clean. These things still are hard for me to get passed as there was no "pay off" for exercise when I was growing up. This article fits well into that area. Report
WOW did you take me back.... we had many similar experiences..... I has blessed childhood as well, and a stay at home mom who did miracles in a budget!

THANKS, you captured it beautifully! Report
Beautiful Blog. Fortunately, I live in a part of the world where your kind of upbringing is still possible, tho even here not all families avail themselves of that opportunity. We garden, for the fresh healthy food, the healthy exercise, & the pleasure of watching things grow. No farm animals, alas - they are forbidden "in town". I have fond memories of chickens & ducks at my grandparents & had a flock myself at an earlier homesite. As a child I lived near a woods, and spent hours in it exploring, berry picking & enjoying nature. I still like to get out & walk a trail, when I can find one my tricky legs can handle. I biked to school & for fun & continued to enjoy that far into adulthood, until my knees failed me. But I had very little in school athletic experience. P.E. did not appear in our schools until I was in 6th grade - I hated it, as it disrupted our free ranging play & games at "recess", replacing that fun with much less active & usually boring "exercises". At 16 I was diagnosed with rhuematoid arthritis, & even P.E. went away. In those days, it was thought that limiting activity was how to handle that, a bad idea. I became very inactive, but still enjoyed all of my Mom & Grandmother's wonderful cooking & baking, with predictable results. I am now in the process of rediscovering how to be active, in ways my damaged joints can handle, as well as relearning how to cook, trying to keep the dynamic Italian flavors of my childhood while losing the heavy fats and overwhelming sugary desserts my family also favored. I hope my grown son has managed to avoid becoming addicted to the latter while retaining some good memories of experiences with us. I passed my love of hiking to him, at least. Report
Wow...what is tragic is that a whole generation of children do not have any of these memories.
We have created such a "sterile" environment everywhere with the idea that we are protecting children from germs and injury. Instead, we are seeing record numbers of children with allergies, ADHD, and numerous ailments that I believe come from a lack of DIRT and hands on involvement with gardens, farms, animals, and life! Children are being raised with an entitlement attitude, and many have absolutely NO IDEA what WORK is.

In fact, as a farm mom myself, we have parents come to us to ask if their kids can work here to learn how to work. Unfortunately, it becomes a sad attempt due to what becomes babysitting since the kids don't want to work and have little regard for what happens on a farm. How is it my job to do what the parents have failed to do--ie. provide any sort of work ethic for their children who have constant access to ipods, cell phones, TV, videos, gaming, and any other sort of mindless entertainment.

Truth be told, I struggle with keeping my own kids off the gaming and out in the garden. I'm not pointing fingers, rather I'm bemoaning a lost way of life that most children will never know. It did make us stronger--for the experiences we had in our years of growing up. Report
I relished every word of this story. Kudos to the writer!!! Such wonderful memories!!! Report
Beautiful story. What a Wonderful life you've had. I too had a similar upbringing though I lived "in town". Family meals, chores, dinner out on special occasions only!! Thank you for bringing back wonderful memories!! Report
Great story to read.... Cheers Report
Great story to read.... Cheers Report
Great story to read.... Cheers Report
You really had a rich foundation for life. Everyone has their own story, and while I had some things in common with you, many other things were different. First the things that were the same: We always ate dinner together and generally ate healthy things, although probably too many sweets and fried things. We had a garden which we all weeded and from which we enjoyed fresh vegetables and berries (some things like peas and radishes right in the garden). We also froze and canned things for winter. I was active in 4-H with cooking, sewing and canning. I always displayed things at the county fair and earned enough prize money to buy my own Christmas presents to give. I had an aunt and uncle who had a farm and I always visited them in the summer. I helped gathering eggs and rounding up the chickens at night.
The big difference was that physical activity was almost totally absent. My father died when I was 4 and my mother had to work the entire time I was growing up. There was always an adult with us after school and some of those people helped with homework and played cards with us while others did not. None particularly encouraged exercise of any kind. There was free time and I used most of mine reading as I do today. When I was a teenager, my grandmother had a stroke, was paralyzed and came to live with us and the responsibilities grew for all of us. My mother was very active while growing up - hiking, fishing, farm work. After my dad died I think that she was overwhelmed with work and being responsible for us; she did gain weight as we grew older and was very aware that I was overweight. She worried about it enough for both of us and the older I got the more self-conscious I was about my weight.. Writing this has a good thing; I'm realizing how many good times I had how many skills I learned. Thank you for this blog. Report
Somebody has to enjoy this wonderful life and it might as well be us. Report
It's a beautiful story, I, on the other hand, was cheered when I ate five pieces of sweet bread one after the other. My family thought that lots of eating would mean healthy. I am having lots of trouble getting rid of that concept and eat only the amounts or foods my body really needs, Report
Thank you for a wonderful blog. I too have fond childhood memories and morn the loss for the generations to come. Memories for latchkey kids with tv, ipods, cell phones, etc. just won't be special, I'm afraid! Report
When I was growing up, mealtime was a time for our parents to correct everything we did wrong, berate my brother and I , and was generally a stressful time. If we did not want to eat a food that was put in front of us, we may have been forcably removed from our chairs, spanked soundly, then put back in the chair and forced to eat the offending food. My brother was a much pickier eater than I, and I ate to prevent the spankings. I still eat! I clean my plate! And I have had weight issues since my childhood. It is very difficult for me to stop myself, even when I feel full. Of course, there have been health issues due to the weight, but since I have lost 70 pounds, I have been able to stop B/P meds and my cholesterol is normal. I have 30 pounds to go! Report
I continue to read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of NOW" since it makes me appreciate each day for the NOW, so I spend little time concerned with my childhood. I raised my children much different than I was raised since my parents believed that being a girl, I was only going to get married and have children, so I was not allowed to "follow my dream" and become a doctor. I was discouraged by everyone, even going so far as having my mother take me to our family doctor so he could tell me why it was something I couldn't do being a girl. (His son became a doctor, but both of his girls became teachers and homemakers.) Report
As some of you who know me or seen my comments you know I do not have a great relationship with food. I am a recovering emotional/ stress eater. And I hate to have anything to do with food. I do not want to plan meals; I do not wish to think about food. If it takes more than a couple of mins to prepare I am just not going to do it. I can cook and have been told I am a good cook; it is just that I hate it.

This maybe partly because of my very dysfunctional relationship with my mother. She was you will be surprised to know a Home Economics teacher. I was taught to cook by my grandmother, and when I went to live with my mother I refused to eat anything she cooked. Nor did we eat together. I would eat in one room in front of the TV and she would eat in another room. Only act together at my grandparents.

I think there is a strong connection between my attitude to food and that relationship.
I grew up 5 miles from the nearest house at a resort area in upstate new York. It was closed for the winter and spring season and open for the summer and fall. The grocery store was 40 miles away and my school was 20 miles away. I did not know what I was missing as far as take out food goes or soda pop, or fast treats. When my two brothers and I were hungey we would eat fruit off the trees, pick berries, and apples.
Now, I am 59 years old and I am sure I would have t.v. in camp by now. but back then we read alot. We could walk down the bank and go swimming all day and catch fish for dinner. We would eat to live and played for fun, not ever thinking about fitness. We went hiking alot for something to do. Your blog helped me remember the good ole' days when life was slower and more simple. Thank You for your beautiful memories that helped me touch upon some of my own that were gathering dust. It brought some welcomed smiles to my heart. I love nature and enjoy exercise. I don't like fast food or pop or very many treats to this very day. I quess it does influence a a person as to what they are use to. Definitely Donna Report
Yes how I was raised does effect me now. What on my plate I had to finish, just a little bit of food left in the pan better eat then to throw good food away, and exercise neither of parent did that. Unfortunately I've followed their examples and it got me the weight I'm at. One of hardest things I still have trouble with is telling myself 'you don't have to eat everything on your plate'. Report
I was fortunate to have a mother, aunt and paternal grandmother who were excellent cooks, and passed their knowledge on to me. My mother mostly used whole grains, and steamed veggies. I used to wonder why other kids hated veggies, until I found out their parents cooked them to a mushy mess! My father kept flats of fresh tomatoes and fruit for snacks during the summer, and we had salads at every meal. Candies and treats were seldom, and definately special.

I was very active when young, swimming, bicycling and skating, along with sporadic dance classes. Like many women my age, I was not encouraged to any sports, and belittled by my brother whenever I ran or tried group sports. I became very self-conscious doing these things, something I still work to overcome. One of my goals is to run a mile, coincidentally in the same park where he runs, as we live in the same neighborhood. Report
My family on all sides led a very non active life. My dad may have played football and baseball when he was a kid, and he may have worked on the family apple orchard when he was young, but he didn't do anything like that when we were growing up. He rarely went out with us to ride bikes, play catch or anything. My mom was the same. She played volleyball when she was in school and was pretty active as a kid from what I understand, but none of that was evident when I was growing up. While my mom may have pushed us outside to get away from the tv when we were kids, on the weekends when we would go to my dad, he would set us in front of the tv. He would play video games with us and we would eat out regularly, or he would make pizza or hotdogs and french fries. His house was stocked with sugar filled breakfasts, and lunches. Back at my mom, she would garden and send us out to do the work while she sat on the phone "supervising." She is a fantastic cook though. Living at my mom's we never went out to eat unless it was a special occasion or a surprise. But our meals were always loaded with potatoes and fatty meats.
The summer time for us was spent in the pool or hiding from the heat in the basement playing, you guessed it, video games. I really wish that when I was a kid I wasn't so absorbed in them. I hear stories of the things that my parents did when they were kids to entertain themselves and I wish that I would have done that instead. Right now, eating right and exercising is foreign to me, and I have children so I really want them to grow up knowing that this is normal. Less tv and videos, more outdoors at the park and visits to the lake. Report
I remember overcooked (to the point of almost burnt) pork chops served with Mac & Cheese. I hate both as we ate them at least 4 times a week, and Mac & Cheese with over-fried balogna just as often. Salads and fresh vegetables were NOT served regularly, and my brother and I, from the age of 10, were frequently left to fend for ourselves because my mother had anxiety problems.

I envy anyone with the fond memories expressed here. I'm very glad you had such a loving home to be raised in, and such supportive parents and siblings. It would have made a big difference for me. Report
i grew up in brooklyn, ny..our exercise was climbing the 3 flights of stairs to get to our third floor apartment and walking where ever we had to go (mom & pop didn't drive)..both my parents went through the depression and were careful not to waste father insisted on a salad every night, before dinner..plain iceberg lettuce with oil & vinegar dressing..we HAD to taste every new food, if we didn't like it, it was OK to spit it into a napkin..the ONLY "take-out" we EVER had was pizza pie (then priced at $1.00 a pie!)..we had many meatless meals and i learned how to feed a family for next to no cost by saving any leftovers to turn into a pot of soup, or add to a meatloaf.. Report
First off, thanks for a great blog, Tonya! I really enjoyed reading about how you grew up and what shaped and influenced you as an adult. My childhood couldn't have been any more different, living in the "city" (pop. 10,000). I don't have children, but often wonder what things I'd like to teach them and what things would unconsciously come through from my own childhood.

In regards to fitness, the biggest thing that I took from my childhood is that I wasn't an athlete and was never encouraged to be, because I've been overweight all of my life. I was never encouraged in gym class or by the coaches of extra curricular sports. I was usually one of the last ones picked in gym class, and in high school the only sport I was recruited for was shot put.

I've told myself all of my life that I'm just not an active, athletic person, and that's just the way it is. I'm still such a newbie on my journey towards a healthier lifestyle, but I'm currently going to the YMCA every day and taking spinning, yoga, and pilates classes, and doing speed interval training in preparation for starting a running program. So, I'm learning that yes, I am an active athletic person in a big girl's body. Report
Wow Tanya - I had no idea how much we have in common. I could almost have written this blog with very few exceptions (my third instrument was the trumpet not the french horn). Thank you for sharing, and taking me back to my childhood on the farm with my six siblings ;) Report
We were taught to take 3 bites of any new food to see if we liked it. If we didn't we weren't forced to finish it. We also had a walnut tree outside our house and we took great pleasure in breaking open the nuts. We would do that when I was raising my 2 kids with my parents, we would buy shelled nuts and break them open rather than buy them already broken out of the shell. Report
Great blog! I didn't grow up on a farm, but we live on 20 acres now and we joke with my kids that we could move to town to be closer, they want nothing to do with it! I grew up in a small town, but with large families on both sides. Dh grew up on a farm, but with different dynamics. It is amazing how different things are. Thankfully, he doesn't hold most of those dynamics. I was busy as a child in sports and stuff, but I quit band my senior year and that is when the weight started to pack on. I was 170 when I graduated and my lowest since then was 165 about 8 years ago. I am desparately trying to change this. I don't think much of my childhood has to do with how I eat because we always ate well and got lots of exercise. Report
I'm the youngest of five and the only girl. I always felt that I had to keep up with my brothers, and that included eating like they did. Also, by the time I came around, my mom did not make as many homemade meals, and I remember being in high school, and always stopping by the local grocery store's deli to pick up whatever the daily special was for supper. One thing that my parents did encourage was us kids being outside, and during the summer time, we would always be exploring the countryside. Report
I never was forced to eat everything on my plate, I don't force anyone in my life to do that. I think its a wrong message - eat even if you are full. I believe and was raised to try new things, if you didn't like it that was okay. I was also raised and believe that you eat until you are full, even if your eyes were bigger than your mouth - oh well, you'll know better next time. Meals in my home were filled with noise and socialization. We ate at times watching TV, such as Disney or Sing-a-long Jubilee. We ate many times at the table as a family. I still encourage people to eat as a family at least once per week. I encourage parents to allow their children to talk at the table, its amazing what you'll learn as you break bread with your children - even your grown-up children will surprise you. I grew up eating over campfires, making messes and yes, eating inside sheet tents draped over the table. I ate out in the field, just enough to keep going and then have a larger meal when the sun set around 11PM. I was a farm kid, you didn't stop for meals while haying - you worked. Meals were times for socialization, not hard nose discipline. They were fun. Oh and lets not forget the community meals, what a blast those were. And that's what I carry with me from my childhood, that meals are ways to gather together, nourish the body and feed the soul. Oh and last, I hate cooking. I started cooking for my family when I was 11yrs old. So over it now. Report
I was raised on cream of mushroom soup ... in everything. We had rolls and butter at every meal, pot roast at least three times a week, and we had dessert after every meal. Thank Gosh, I don't like much of that stuff anymore. I can't even tolerate red meat at all, but I still love two legged and no legged critters.

I taught myself to cook, as I had no patience for following recipes full of ingredients I didn't like. I'd much prefer a crisp, cool apple over apple pie any day. I guess I'm just fortunate that things turned out that way.

My downfall is emotional eating, and always has been. I eat when I'm bored, can't sleep, excited, busy, OR hungry. Or any combination of the above. I've had to teach myself how to figure out whether I'm actually hungry or not. So far so good.

Thanks for a great article. I hope my kids have those types of memories. I surely tried to give that type of experience to them. (My son's first taste of sugar came when he was 3 years old. His birthday cake for his first birthday was a big bran muffin with a candle in it! He loved it.) Report
Like others here, my parents made us sit at the table till we ate everything on our plate. There were nights I fell asleep at the table. I didn't like green beans and those were my big draw back. We seemed to eat them almost every night. I would gulp them down with milk just so I could go to bed. But I was not a stranger to eating....I loved food and as a high energy child playing with my 13 brothers and sisters in the wilderness we stayed bean pole skinny. When mom would call us in from outside to eat, we fought to get to the one sink we had to wash up for dinner. We could eat and if we didn't get in the kitchen the best food would be scraps for those of us that were late. As a result of all this I always appoached food with much anxiety. It was either all or nothing for me, and when I reached puberty I developed anorexia and belimia. Eating was my life. So in order to recover from this, I decided I would never worry and diet again. I married a man that was overweight so I didn't have to be self conscience. Now 22 years later I am obese and 70lbs overweight. My Dr. is telling me my heart can't handle diet pills because of my eating disorder from when i was a teenager. And trying to loose weight is either all or nothing without the vomiting. So finding SparkPeople helped me find a dailing plan that works. Thanks Sparkpeople! your an answer to prayers. Report
My mother use to make me sit at the table til I finished everything on my plate. I spent many evenings at the table just sitting there refusing to eat things I didn't like. This happen 5 or 6 days our of the week. After a couple of hours I took a bath and went to bed. I never did this to my children, I had them take at least one bite of something they didn't like and encouraged them to eat their veggies while they were warm and tasted better. That is how I finally got done with my food as a child at night, I would sit down and eat the veggies as fast as I good while they were warm. Learned later in life that my mother over cooked all the veggies and that is why they tasted bad. We use to get a lot of food from my fathers 2nd cousin who had a farm up in Ventura county when it was all farms. Those were the best. Report
Much of who we are were formulated from childhood on. Food was often used to deal with emotions, rather than simply act as fuel. As adults, we can choose to adopt new habits. While it's challenging to embrace a new healthy lifestyle, it is a choice we do have. Report
Thank you for sharing your childhood! It's always fun to look back when you had a good one! I also played the French Horn and wish I still had it. Report
You are so blessed to have had such a wholesome youth. So many people can't even comprehend! Yes, we tend to become our parents' values, and continue to pass them, hopefully new and improved, to our children. Report
Yes, beautifully written, Tanya. Of course, all our lives, how we see the world, and our actions and reactions are influenced by our life experiences. Parents and parenting make a difference every single day, as does the culture we grow up in. As we mature, though, we can work on keeping and emphasizing the good things and letting go of the problem things in our pasts. Times change, and our children and grandchildren will never know the world as we had it. Keep writing down those memories so they can know and understand you better! Thanks for sharing. Report
I really enjoyed reading this blog, thank you for sharing w/us! Report
Thank you for this is beautifully written! It is timely for me as I have been thinking a lot about how big the "food planet" was on my universal map as a child. Food might as well have been the sun...because so many things revolved around it, and still do, in an unhealthy way. I am striving to live a life that is less connected to the grocery store or fast food, and more connected to my own garden or local farmers' and my kitchen...also to be more motivated to stay physically active and engaged in my community....and if/when I have children, I hope to pass these lessons to them. Report
Oh, for the simpler times! Report
What beautiful memories! I wish every child in this world would have the same opportunities to grow up healthy, happy and loved like that!
I had a happy childhood in the 70's- most of my memories regard my wonderful grandparents.
Then my parents divorced.
I realized some years ago that that had influenced my life negatively and I was bringing up my children repeating my parents mistakes.
I touched the buttom- woke up and keeping in mind my parent's mistakes I'm now happy to say that I'm happy, healthy and are trying to leave the solid foundations I didn't have to my children. Report
I thought for a time, that we grew up in the same town with the values established as to family and lifestyle. Then I read we were States apart but must be of the same decades. Your story did bring back memories. In addition to your chores and activites, we had laying hen for egg gathering & capons to butcher. Most were for sale so that we could buy our flour, sugar & other staples. We also had crops so we walked the fields every spring to pick up rocks and then early summer we walked all the bean fields to assure they didn't have weeds and volunteer corn. That meant we could sell the beans for human consumption & a better price. Oh, what memories. Thank you for sharing. Most of the time I don't miss it but do miss not being able to raise our kids in a different culture and they miss not having the opportunity. Report
What beautiful memories you have! Thank you for sharing. It's important for each of us to reflect on our upbringing and understand why we do things as adults. Report
Thank you for sharing your life with us and you have many beautiful memories. It's a shame so many young folks won't have those kind of memories or even close, in today's world. Report
I loved this story very much though I didn't live on a farm my little siser and I got to stay with our mothers aunt on a farm a few summers.There we experienced a great deal of what it took to pick and dig up vegetables,it was so great and those memories are etched in my mind.What a great story, how lucky you were. Report
Great story! I enjoyed reading it, and it is well written as well. Thank you
Beautiful writing. I grew up in a city, but our food came directly from a local farm and our gardens. As a family we played board games together, attended church Sunday mornings, and watched Disney Sunday evenings. My sister had dance lessons; I had piano lessons. We both took swimming lessons every summer. I was a tall, skinny, and awkward kid who played outside all year long. After my accident at age 12, I was not allowed to take P.E. or play sports, and in my 20s, due to exercise induced migraines, I gave up hiking and bicycling as well. My adult life has not matched my childhood in the least bit unfortunately. This is why I'm here now. Thank you for writing this blog. Your questions certainly gave me something to think about. Report