Growing up, and still to this day, my grandparents live on a nonworking farm. But the barn and the shed still stand. My father stores his lawn mower and snow blower there. All of Grandpa’s recycling makes it out to the barn, as well.
But when we were young, the barn was a magical place with old cash registers, rotary phones, stolen road signs, cat skeletons, new litters of kittens, Jessie Simmons’ tongue, and so much more. We climbed into the hay loft, back into the granary, and underneath the woodpile. We knew the barn so well, yet we were surprised by every nook and cranny.
Most importantly, the barn was the battleground of many different fights between the Big Kids and the Little Kids. Right now, there are 10 grandchildren on my maternal side: (from oldest to youngest) Heidi, Heather, Meghan, Erica (me), Hilary, Devon, Jason (my brother), Britta, Cory, and Clay. Heidi, Heather, Meghan, and I were the Big Kids. Everyone younger than me was a Little Kid. (I think I only made the cutoff to keep the number of Big Kids even.)
But our favorite game was acting like separate gangs. The Little Kids always wanted to be Big Kids. “You can be a Big Kid when you’re 7…8…9…” we told them. Whatever my age was was the age you had to be to be a Big Kid. Of course, they never passed me in age (and they never seemed to catch on, either).
Hilary, Devon, and Jason just took this bullshit for a long time. And then Britta was born. Sweet little Britta, who just stared at us from her pumpkin seat. And then she started to walk. Out in the barn one day, we were having an epic Big Kids versus Little Kids fight and Meghan and I were standing on the side of the barn when out walks two-year-old toddling Britta with an ax in her tiny little hands.
And then she chased us. I don’t know why. Maybe she’ll comment on this and let us all know…but I think she was sick of the Big Kids bullying around the Little Kids. I do believe the gangs were a little more accepting of each other after that, but we still fought for the pure amusement of it.
Love you, Britt!