City Kid, Country Kid: Where We Grow Up


When I was a kid, I thought it would be the best thing ever to grow up on a country farm like my mom and her siblings had done. I dreamt of carefree days under the sunny skies of southwestern Minnesota, running through the meadow, playing in the crick, and taking care of all the animals.

“Oh, Sarah,” my mom would sigh. “You would have been so sick.” She was speaking from experience as she suffered greatly from allergies and asthma when growing up on the family farm. Lucky me, I inherited these ailments and even though I was a city kid, I also suffered.

City Kid, Country Kid: Where We Grow Up | Duluth Moms Blog

City Kid

Yes, I was a city kid. I grew up in a sweet little neighborhood just a few miles from the heart of St. Paul, back in the day when parents weren’t all that worried about where their kid was at any given moment. I was free to walk to my friends’ houses, walk to the park or neighborhood library several blocks away, and even go trick-or-treating without my parents. We were fortunate to live within walking distance of the State Fair, and I was allowed to attend with my friends and even remember going by myself a time or two. 

Once I got a bit older, maybe 12 or 13, I started a summer job working as a file clerk at my father’s law office in downtown St. Paul. I caught the bus near my home and rode it all the way downtown. I was given such responsibilities as delivering important paperwork to other law offices, making bank deposits and running other errands all over downtown St. Paul. To this day, I can’t believe as a young teenager I regularly walked several blocks down a busy street carrying a bank bag filled with checks signed for deposit. No one ever bothered me.

Well, the years went by and this city kid went on to live in a variety of metropolitan areas both large and small. Save for a brief stint living in the mountains west of Boulder, Colorado, my country-life dreams weren’t realized until a little over 9 years ago, when my husband and I bought a house in rural Carlton County. Once our daughter arrived, I became the proud mom of a country kid.

City Kid, Country Kid: Where We Grow Up | Duluth Moms Blog

Country Kid

As I’ve happily raised my daughter in our peaceful setting in the woods, I’ve often wondered if it would have been better to have waited to live in the country until our kid was older. 

After all, it is pretty convenient living in town. You are much closer to stores in case you run out of diapers or discover you need an onion for your mealtime hot dish. Getting your kid to the doctor is no trick at all, and if you’re lucky, you are within walking distance to local parks, schools, activities and community events. Since you live in a neighborhood filled with people, it’s likely that your kids and you can find a few families you enjoy spending time with and even exchange play-dates and sleepovers. What’s not to love?!

I have to admit, there are more than a few times I wished we lived in town and not just for the conveniences listed above. I am not a big fan of driving and you can multiply that by 100 when it comes to driving in winter weather. Sometimes, driving isn’t even an option out where we are unless you have 4WD to bust through the drifts carved by the relentless east wind traveling over expansive country fields. The longest we’ve gone without seeing a plow was 3 days. On the plus side, living 30 miles from the nearest Target has saved me a substantial amount of money!

But there are days–when the sunshine is kissed by a cool breeze–when I honestly feel like we live in heaven and there is nowhere I would rather be. A place where our country kid can discover tadpoles in the pond, trill to the turkeys and deer in our field and pick wildflower bouquets. Where she can ride her bike without worrying about traffic, learn about honeybees, and play with her dog and the chickens. A place where she can be alone with her thoughts and dream big. Where we can sing at the top of our lungs, skip and dance around without anyone thinking we are weirdos. And where the sky dazzles with a gazillion stars and the fireflies signal back their applause.

When I ask my country kid if she’d rather live in the city, she always says no – she loves living in the country. I have to agree – even though I have city roots, I am a country kid, through and through.

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A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Sarah is a dyed-in-her-wool-socks Minnesotan whose life-long love of woods and water drew her to move to Duluth 23 years ago this November. An avid hiker, she loves to explore all locales on Lake Superior’s shore, snowshoe frozen North Shore rivers and go for walks in Duluth’s Lester Park. Working in Higher Education for over 20 years, Sarah’s greatest joy was to talk with students about how to navigate the challenges of college, what they wanted to do with their lives and how to make their dreams come true. After stepping out of this career to be a stay-at-home-mom, Sarah has returned to her passion of helping people achieve their personal and professional goals as a Board Certified Coach. To find out more about coaching and her background, visit or find her on Facebook at Sarah VanderMeiden Coaching . Sarah’s family lives in the country and share their five acres with a small flock of laying hens, deer, wild turkey, way too many mice and 10,000 honeybees. Sarah has given up gardening and keeping her house clean to pursue her many interests including enjoying the lake, singing, photography and spending time with her family camping in their vintage travel trailer or tickling each other on the couch.