Back In The Day

Back in the day, your face would light up at the mail box as you opened a letter from a far away friend. Now, our kids are learning to type before they learn to write.

Back in the day, when you missed a friend, you called her on the phone and got to hear her voice. Now, social networks have eliminated the human connection.

Back in the day, when you composed an email message, you wrote, “Ha! Ha! Ha!” and the person receiving your message could almost hear your laughter! Now, we have message text like ‘lol’ which take all the fun out of a laugh.

But…back in the day… we heard fantasies of video calls, and now they are commonplace.

We heard computers would keep getting smaller, and now anyone with a smart phone can attest to that.

You win some and lose some, I guess. We just have to be mindful of the value of the things we lose.

A Time For Everything

During the school year, our days are pretty much set in a certain routine: we get up at a certain time, the kids catch the bus, they come home, do homework, have dinner, get some play/tv time, then bedtime. Although getting them up in the morning can be challenging, I have renamed bedtime…it’s now ‘time to torture mom.’

Getting ready for bed should take them no longer than half an hour. And although, technically, they are in bed when they should be…the torture comes next. They get up out of their beds maybe twenty times over the next hour. “I want a drink.” “I’m still hungry.” “Mom, I forgot to tell you….” “Mom, today in school….” “Mom, check out this game….”

And every time they get up, every time they call, I tell them the same thing: “There’s a time for every thing…now is not (fill in the blank) time, now is bedtime. Get to bed.”

Seems rational enough.

But when you catch yourself saying, “It’s not time to poop!” then you know your sanity is in question.

Memory Card

My ten year old asked me today, “Do our brains work like memory cards?”

He’s ten…so he should know that whatever he learns gets stored in his brain. So I knew that wasn’t quite what he was asking. With one upturned eyebrow I said, “Yes, your brain ‘saves’ what you learn.”

“No…I mean…can it become full. So after I reach , say, 2 GB, I can’t retain anymore?”

I’m sure he would have loved to hear me affirm his theory…I’m sure I would’ve gotten: “Well, then…I think I’m all filled up!”

But his comment made me remember an episode of “Married With Children.” If you’re (like me) old enough to remember Christina Applegate’s first major tv success, then you probably remember the episode where her character, Kelly, was in some kind of contest, and everyone was feeding her facts…and she was taking it all in. The catch? After a certain capacity, her brain would be able to take in new info, but by losing some of the old. And that’s how she lost…all the new info made her forget that her own father had been the football hero at his high school.

I wonder if that’s what’s happening to my five year old: he used to know square…but now that he’s learned triangle, he’s forgotten it! Messed up memory card!

A Lesson on Wicked

If you were raised in southern Massachusetts, then chances are you have a habit of using the word ‘wicked’ quite often. “That’s wicked cool!” “Check out that mansion…it’s wicked huge!!” “I took a wicked bad spill down the stairs.”

And all through my childhood, my cousins from New York would always mock me for using this word. Recently my brother met up with some friends of his from NY…and even though he’s 37, he still uses ‘wicked.’ His friends made some comments, then they made the mistake of trying to copy him, “That’s wicked!” So, with a look of confusion on his face (as any pure blooded MA resident would have), he said, “Wicked what?” And waited…but they had no answer.

Make fun all you like, people, but if you’re going to imitate, then get it right. Wicked is used as an adverb! We don’t just say, “That’s wicked!” You have to follow it up with an equally unique adjective: “Wicked gnarly!” “Wicked sweet!” “Wicked fresh!”

And to answer your question: No, I don’t think I’m too old to be saying ‘wicked cool.’ Even the words we speak can have emotional meaning, and using that terminology keeps me somewhat connected to that little girl who, decades ago, was raised in MA.

Before I Was a Mom

Before I was a mom, I didn’t have sticky door knobs…nor had I ever wiped another person’s nose.

Before I was a mom, I didn’t know how much another person’s laugh could make my day.

Before I was a mom, I knew that motherhood was difficult…but I didn’t KNOW how difficult.

Before I was a mom, I knew that my own mother had sacrificed a lot to raise her children…but I didn’t know how much.

Before I was a mom, I appreciated all my mom had done for me….but I didn’t really APPRECIATE.

Before I was a mom, I didn’t know the importance of having a master ‘no-kids allowed’ bathroom…but if I want to avoid pee puddles, on the floor, on the toilet seat, and on the ceiling [yes, it happens]…that’s what I need.

Before I was a mom, I didn’t get how mothers could abandon their children. Now, I get it. I do not condone it, but I get it. It scares me that I get it…but I get it.

Before I was a mom, I thought I would make a great mom…but now, I know my kids deserve more patience and more gentleness.

Before I was a mom, my life was not as hectic…but now, I praise God for this hectic life.

How Did I Get Here?

That person staring back at me from the mirror–with wrinkles beginning to appear on her face and sprinkles of grey beginning to show in her hair–who is she? Could she possibly be the person who just minutes ago was studying to get her degree? The one who just moments before that was walking around the mall with her friends, then rushing to get home before curfew? The same girl–who just seconds before–got off the school bus holding her big brother’s hand?

Now, she watches her son as he gets off the bus, holding his big brother’s hand. And in just a few moments–life has proven that it really won’t be much longer than that–she will be watching as they place her grandchild in his father’s arms.

We have so many lives to live in such a few moments. Our hope as parents will continue to be that we raised them as best as we could, that we instilled in them the values and morals they need to be good, honest, caring, kind people.