You Try To Raise Them Right…

Uber looked over at me from his side of the bench.  “I feel kind of guilty.”  We were enjoying a few minutes of down time this morning in a picture-perfect courtyard outside a picture-perfect 19th century Episcopal cathedral.  There were cobblestone pathways below us and ancient oaks overhead.  The wind was stirring just enough breeze to remind you there was a touch of spring still in the air.  From our vantage point on the courtyard bench, it could have just as easily been a Saturday morning in 1890 as one today.  Except for the two of us.  Uber had his head buried in his Nintendo DS, and I was busily typing away on my portable keyboard.  

I looked up long enough from my work to see that hangdog look on his face, and I sighed.  Guilt is so annoyingly contagious.  “I suppose you think we should be sitting here enjoying the peace and tranquility, huh?” I asked him. 

“Well, doesn’t it just seem wrong to be looking down at our screens, when there is all this around us?”  Uber replied.

It’s my own fault.  I had the outlandish notion to raise my children with respect for creation, and acknowledgement of beauty.   I wanted them to literally learn to stop and smell the flowers, and even stare at them long enough to see the miraculous composition that went into each one.  I hoped they would rise above the materialistic, and learn to appreciate the abundance of natural treasure that freely surrounds us daily.  And I prayed they would never take any of these wonders for granted.

And wouldn’t you know, just as I was in the middle of writing an important paragraph, all that would come back to bite me in the butt.  Hmph….kids.



Say Cheese, Sasquatch

You remember those days when your kids were babies or toddlers, and you felt like you were packing for trip to Fiji just to head to the grocery store?  After you had carried all the assorted bags, extra clothes, camcorder, toys to the car and gotten Jr. safely tucked in the car seat, you still had to make three more trips back to the house for things you had forgotten (keys, purse, your brain).  Glad those days are long behind you?  Yeah?  Don’t rub it in. 

As we headed out for church yesterday morning, I realized that my family has never quite let go of the toddler stage.  Each of us was weighed down with enough stuff to open our own Walmart and still make a killing on Ebay with the leftovers. We tend to pack for every outing as if we might not be back home until Paula Abdul says something that makes sense.   I’m afraid we may have an undiagnosed doomsday complex, because we seem to pack for all the “just in cases” of life. 

Uber and H-T never go in the car without their Nintendo DS, their game pack, their car charger AND standard charger.  If they happen to be in the car, at a crucial point in their game, and the little red “low power” light comes on?  No problem.  If they are at a friend’s house, and are deep in a Wi-Fi battle when the warning signal lights blinks?  Not an issue.  I haven’t yet warned them of those few places on earth, usually over 200 feet away from buildings and automobiles, that are not wired for any type of charger.  They have enough to worry about with global warming and the future of social security.  Why send them into panic mode? 

I usually have about four armfuls of stuff when I head out into the great unknown.  But experience has shown me that they are all absolute necessities. 

  • Cell phone, car charger, standard charger (duh – did you think the boys came up with their obsessions obigfootn their own??)
  • Camera – – because if I really see Bigfoot, I don’t want no grainy, half-ass cell phone pic – – I want a CNN-worthy ,$25,000 close-up. 
  • Two coats, a change of clothes, a blanket, gatorade and some beef jerky – – hey, I’ve watched Oprah…if you get stranded in a snowstorm in your car, this will keep you alive (as long as I remember my cell phone charger)
  • A book – – I’ve been stuck in many waiting rooms with magazines old enough to feature Jennifer Aniston’s haircut on Friends as “the next big thing”
  • Plastic grocery bags – – this trend started after an unfortunate car trip following a delicious dinner of undercooked shrimp and blueberry pie. My upholstery used to be tan.  It’s a lovely pukeish-blue-taupe now.
  • Pillows – – ok, so I’m old.  Riding in the car makes my back hurt.  Plus, they will come in handy in the snowstorm.
  • Water bottle – – again, I’m old.  2 quarts a day is supposed to help keep the wrinkles away. 
  • Portable DVD player and my Gilmore Girls DVDs- – if traffic comes to a standstill, I know that Lorelei, Rory, Richard, and Emily will talk me through it
  • Makeup bag – – because you never know when you might need a quick touch-up… like say…when CNN gets wind of my Bigfoot biopic…

Now R-T is not a “watch the sky for falling airplanes” type of man, so he generally makes it to the car with just himself and his dignity.  We’ve warned him numerous times to grab an extra pair of boots, maybe a weather radio, or even a set of jumper cables.  He’ll be sorry he didn’t listen.  When we get trapped in that snowstorm, and the boys and I run down the car battery with our various chargers, who do you think it is that’s gonna have to tromp through the snow in his tennis shoes to find Bigfoot and see if he is willing to give us a jump??