Altered Perceptions

When we were young, the first floor of my parents’ house was two main rooms: the living room and the recreation room. The recreation room was just an empty room with some toys. [Side bar: Where in the world did we get that name from? You would think that two Egyptian immigrants would find it easier to teach their kids the word ‘play.’ But it wasn’t the play room…no. Never in my childhood did we call it that… it was always the recreation room. Anyway…] The side door to the house was at one end of the rec room, and at the other end was the door leading to the living room. The best thing about the rec room was that it was HUGE! I mean…it was MONSTROUS! It was so big that we could play ‘Fox and Rabbit.’

You’re thinking, ‘Fox and Rabbit? What in the world is Fox and Rabbit?’ Come on people…reconnect with your eight year old selves and you’ll figure it out! Fox and Rabbit is when one person–the Fox–starts out by standing to the side. The Rabbits try to run from one end of the room to the other without getting caught. I don’t quite remember if the Fox ran after the Rabbits and had to tag them, or if he threw a ball at them…but the specifics don’t matter…you get the picture. The Rabbits would sprint from one door, and not reach safety until they got to the opposite door.  And because we were running from the Fox, we didn’t just touch the door…Oh, no! We SLAMMED into it with all our might! Well, when you’re running that fast from the enemy, it’s too dangerous to slow down! So, as you would expect, the grow ups who were in the adjacent living room, would come in several times… “Stop banging on the door!”  Like all obedient children, since we knew we weren’t banging on the door, we just continued with the game.

When I visited my parent’s place after I’d been gone for a while, I was shocked at what I saw: somehow the recreation room had shrunk! It was no longer gigantic. It was just….an average sized room. And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how we’d ever played Fox and Rabbit there.

Something my kids said to me recently made me wonder if maybe my perception of other things was also wrong…

As far back as I can remember, my mom has been chubby. Soft and chubby. And when I was four and she was pregnant with my younger brother, I remember her being simply round. I remember her during that time as being a big ball of softness.

My own kids have recently made comments about my weight. Roughly translated, they say I have ‘blubber thighs,’ and they take pleasure in poking and shaking my enormous legs.

You’re thinking, “So you’re chubby, too. What’s the big deal?”

But I doubt that any adult would call me chubby. I’m average height (much shorter than my mom, by the way) and I weigh between 125-130 pounds. Trust me…those who know me do NOT think I’m chubby.

So does that mean that all these years my childhood memories of my mom have been wrong? And are my kids going to continue to see me as chubby? What goes around comes around, I guess.

I wonder if our perceptions of things continue to change even as adults, as we continue to progress in age. Only time will tell…


How Many Pay-Checks Do You Deserve?

I recently made a resolution to read the classic novels, and I decided to start with “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte. Along with all the colorful characters, the novel describes the standard of life for a range of people in nineteen century England. You get a glimpse of the poor, the middle class, and the rich. The middle-class lived in good sized homes, and they had at least one housekeeper. The rich had huge mansions….and in those mansions they employed many servants.

And as I was reading, I’m thinking to myself, “If I had lived back then, I would have been the richest servant ever!”

Why? you ask. Because in my own home, I do it all.

I’m the housekeeper: I do the laundry, set the table, etc.

I’m the maid: I’m the one who does the cleaning.

I’m the cook: I set the menu and make the food.

I’m the nanny: I take care of the kids.

I’m the governess: I help with homework and explain lessons they don’t understand.

That’s five paychecks I should be getting! Now if only I could find a respectable family….