Backyard bliss this spring

Meet the Canhams, a quintessentially ''normal'' fun loving family of five.

Craig and Leonie (husband and wife) work full-time, in jobs they love - Craig in the job services' industry and Leonie as a freelance writer.

Their three boys, who are in grades 2, 4 and 6, jam-pack every spare moment with playing sport and hanging out with their mates at local parks and playgrounds.

They are also building treasured childhood memories by exploring nearby native bush tracks on mountain bikes and scooters.

And - like most active young families - weekends are cherished, loaded with organised competitive sport, sleepovers, camping trips, weekends away, and social 'gatherings' with friends, family and neighbours.

Then... Covid hit.

The world as the Canham Five have always known it, is momentarily on hold.

School is closed, organised sport cancelled, local parks and playgrounds are shut down, there are no playdates, no camping, no outings, no gatherings, and a dramatically changed work landscape for both mum and dad.

With the abolition of so many basic first world freedoms right now, like all Australian families doing their bit to stay at home, the Canhams are digging deep and giving huge thanks for the safe haven of their sacred backyard space.

''Our backyard has always played a pivotal role in our family life, but now, more so than ever before, it has become our epicentre,'' Leonie said.

"It's where the kids emulate their sporting heroes in games of basketball and footy; where they stage fiercely fought-out competitions in down ball, darts, totem tennis and table tennis and where they play chasey on the lawn for hours on end with their golden retriever Indra.

''And as a family it's where we cook camp oven dinners and marshmallows over a makeshift fire pit dug into the ground; where we play kick-to-kick, keepings off and tippity-cricket; where we play board games, cards and puzzles on the outdoor table; and most importantly, where we share meals, stories and connect,'' Leonie said.

"It's our opportunity to reconnect with so many lost and simple pleasures in life - most of which are available to us right here in our own backyards."

If a home is your castle then a backyard must surely be your kingdom.

Undoubtedly, it is here, in the private sanctuary of your own backyard, where hope and happiness starts.

Our backyard...has become our epicentre.

Leonie Canham
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