Please welcome Jennifer Herron our guest blogger today. Jen is a member of our Community Hospital team, a busy community volunteer and a talented writer, but most importantly, she is a mommy to two adorable children, Ryder (3) and Reese (1). Jennifer is not from Atchison County, but has made it her home after marrying a hometown boy. Jen does a beautiful job of describing a day in the life of a small town mommy and what it means to her to be raising her children here.
One of the best examples of a great weekend in Rock Port could not come at a better time.
Fourth of July weekend in Rock Port is comparable to being at the North Pole on Christmas. Memorial Park was buzzing with activity across the street from our house before our coffee was even brewing. Just looking at the park, I could already smell the remains of sparkers, funnel cakes and sun block.
Our phones started ringing early in the morning from friends and family. Since our house is so close the festivities, everyone wanted to know if they could set up camp in our yard for the day. Can they use our bathroom, can they get some ice? Do we have an extra blanket? Yes, sure, come on in.
It doesn’t matter that I only ever see you in the convenience store or that you know my children’s names better than mine. On a holiday, or on just a regular week day, you are more like family here.
At 10:00 in the morning, we load up the stroller with snacks, bottled water, sun block and swimming suits. Friends park their cars in our yard and we all head to the park together. There’s the high school wrestling coach sitting on a plank above the dunk tank. There are the 4-H Club kids trying to keep all the frogs corralled for the frog jumping contest and the jumping castle is taking shape.
We spend the next two hours basking in the sun, listening to kids squealing in delight and watching little babies all decked out in red, white and blue win prizes for “best smile” and “chubbiest cheeks” in the baby contest.
When it is time for lunch, we all load up and head back to home base. Some of our friends needed to go back to their house across town for a change of clothes, but we took their little ones back with us because they were hungry. We will feed them just as if they were our kids and they will fit in as if they were always here. The babies fall asleep for quick naps together in one crib and the older kids excitedly talk about how high they jumped in the castle.
This holiday is just one of the great examples of why I love living in this community. I did not grow up here, but always visited because it is where my mother, father and generations before were raised. I will be honest and say that it did take some getting used to. But eventually, that old feeling of “everyone knows my business” transformed into “everyone has my back.”
If your car breaks down on the side of the road in the college town I used to live in, you’d be weary to ask for help from a passing motorist. If it happens here, the first person to stop will likely be one of the farmers who drink coffee with your grandpa every morning. There’s one thing less to worry about, and the stress relievers just keep coming.
Once, I left my phone at the pool, but it was waiting for me by the time I got home, because someone found it, recognized my little girl’s picture on the screen and dropped it off at the house. My husband’s billfold fell out of his truck at the grocery store. A man called him from the store to tell him before my husband even realized it was lost.
These little details and so many more are what make raising my kids here the easiest decision I have ever made. Where else you could feel as safe? Where else can you go where the whole village is on the same team in raising the children? It’s comfy, convenient and close and makes being a mother just that much easier!