a joyful family space

Be Free

Be Free street art, Melbourne

A couple months ago I was driving to an event when I spotted this little piece of Melbourne street art. I couldn’t help being drawn to this girl, with her messy hair, long dress and bare feet. It was an instant flashback to my own childhood, the difference being that my first bike was canary yellow, like those little flowers she’s riding towards. The weeds growing from the pavement around her and the cracks in the wall seemed to all be in just the right place at the right time and then I spotted the words “Be Free” and I loved her even more. Be Free.

Each Monday I take myself to a cafe with a notepad and jot down everything I would like to achieve that week. It’s full of verbs so I can focus on doing stuff and broken up into things I want to do for home, tiny & little, my photography and school and kinder. I’m a list person and love that I have things to focus on without procrastinating or thinking about what needs to be done. Often I copy most of last week’s list to this week’s because I will have only done a few things from it. And I’m okay with that, because I’d much rather be making dandelion wishes than marking checklists. This week though, I’ve done nothing from the list.

Last week I found myself saying to my little ones that they should enjoy being children and free to play because you’re an adult with responsibilities for a really, really long time. That they should enjoy being free to just have fun. This little girl and her bike came to mind, and I was inspired to join them as the big kid. I had already switched off my computer while the tiny & little office is being moved around to fit in a big piece of new furniture, so I left it that way. I put the phone and the camera away. And we played. Then played some more. We read books and made up songs. We imagined we were the judges on The Voice and held auditions. We walked around our neighbourhood and collected leaves. We spotted crocodiles in the clouds. Each of them had a sneaky treat alone with me….ssssh, that bit’s still a secret!

Why did thinking of this little girl on the street make me drop everything and put the to-do list on the side to spend a week love bombing my little ones? Well…

A few weeks ago I was driving the same street to this event when I noticed something that immediately saddened me. The weeds had been removed. The blue graffiti tag was painted over. And the little girl on her bike, a beautiful piece of street art papered on the wall? She was gone.

Just like that, a childhood had disappeared from my sight.

The time from when kids are young and free to being adults can feel like it’s going to pass in a heartbeat. At seven and eight years old, Mr Tiny and Mr Little are both often giving me glimpses of the men they are going to be when they grow up and I know that in time the little boys before me will be gone. Their childhood will one day be but a memory too.

I don’t want to miss it because I’m tied to the to-do list and look up one day to see them as adults and wonder when that happened. I want to collect memories that I can hold on to always. So, I took this little girl’s advice and freed myself from the to-do list and just had fun. And it was all kinds of awesome.

Be Free Street Art free iPad wallpaper

I loved the idea of this little girl inspiring me to “Be Free” to enjoy the time I have with my little boys, so I made her the wallpaper for my iPad. She’s on the lock screen so every time I go to unlock it, she’ll pop up as if to ask “Do you really need to be online right now? Wouldn’t you rather be free and go play?” I couldn’t resist sharing the love, so if you like this little girl too I’ve uploaded the iPad sized wallpaper for her here and you can grab it for free. Enjoy!

It’s a long weekend here, so I’m planning to switch off again for the next three days with my little ones. Will you switch off and be free for the weekend too?


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  1. Julia

    19 June

    What a lovely post. A good reminder for us all – thank you! Julia

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