Learn As You Go

The other day, my husband and I had to trade trucks, which means…

He had to stop at the first gas station he saw to avoid being stranded along the road.

And I was goosed by some deer antlers.

And those, folks, are the dirty, little life secrets they don’t share in pre-marital counseling. Some stuff, I guess, you just gotta learn as you go.


Good Old Days

“I’m taking my turn on the X-Box,” Elder announced, the other night, striding forcefully into the kitchen.

I barely glanced at him as I finished the last bit of tidying of the day. “Not right now. Your dad and Younger are working on the internet, and they are using the X-Box connection to check their progress.”

And suddenly my seventeen-year-old son launched into a tirade, wearing a path across the wood floor as he paced out his agitation. “I said — just today, in school — I said that technology is going to be our downfall. We can’t do anything without it. And here I am, at home, and we can’t even go one night without the internet. Oh, no, we have to fix it, right now, tonight. It’s almost ten o’clock! And because they can’t go without the internet, I may not have a chance to play the X-Box.”

I blinked at him, this son of mine who was pulling his smart phone from his pocket in order to entertain himself until the X-Box became available. And I know I’m old, decrepit really, out of touch with the progress of the day, I’m sure, as all parents are. I mean I’m from the days of Pong, so what do I really know?

But I’m just pretty sure, I just think it’s fairly likely that the X-Box, well, I just think that it’s probably part of technology.

And as for the smart phone…

I guess there’s technology and then there’s technology.

And Pong just isn’t it, anymore.

On Time

Here is an old story from 2002…

As I was driving the boys to their grandparents the other night, Elder asked, “How long are we going to be there?”

I glanced at the clock, did a bit of figuring in my head, then estimated, “I don’t know, Elder. Maybe five hours.”

“How long is that?” he demanded.

“Well, Elder, it’s five hours.”

“But how long is that?”

“Elder, five hours is five hours. I don’t understand the question.”

“Oh. Five hours. That’s a long time. Huh, Mommy?”

For the mother who spends most of her day with a demanding two-year-old and a questioning five-year-old, five hours away really doesn’t seem all that long. So, I hedged, “I don’t know, Elder. Could be, I guess.”

“Well,” he said, undeterred by my poor response. “It’s more than a little while, anyway.”

Ahhhh, the time telling of the young. A little while, quite a while, a long time, and forever. And it all really quite depends on what they are telling time for. I mean, if Elder is waiting for a cookie, two minutes is “forever.” And if I’m waiting for him to find his shoes, “a little while” can be as much as ten minutes.

I don’t even bother with clocks any more. We all run on Elder time.


A Sick Day

Younger is home from school today.  Just as he was yesterday.

That’s right.

After two snow days, during which he could have been sick with impunity, he decides to succumb to a stomach virus on the very exact day everyone else is returning to school. One would almost believe it was all a dramatic plan of bamboozlement. But he’s not quite that accomplished an actor.

I don’t think.

But, anyway, he’s home, sprawled on the sofa with a jug of water, a bottle of Sprite, and a package of crackers close to hand. After supplying him with these few needs and nearing the end of my lunch hour, I asked him to let me know if he planned to take a nap, so I wouldn’t worry if he didn’t return a checking-in text.

So, a little while after returning to work, I received this text…

“I keep falling awake.”

I studied the words for a minute then replied, “Well, most people have the opposite problem.”

“See I think I’m awake,” he wrote, “then I wake up.”

“Maybe you should just give up and take a nap.”

“But I might be napping now.”

I shook my head then typed, “Only if I’m the one dreaming.”

“Unless dreams exist in their own plane of existence.”

Battling a headache myself, I replied, “I don’t think I’m up to maintaining this conversation right now.”

And with true generosity, he typed back, “We will continue it in your dreams.”

In my nightmares, more like.

Don’t some people advocate small doses of alcohol for sick kids? To help them sleep or something?

Or is that large doses of alcohol for the parent?