Me Time

Dear J-

There is the life we lead at home and then there is the life we build using our own narratives, minute by minute by hour by day in school, independent and free from the influence of none but our peers. The things we do as parents grow less influential and I hope we’ve done a good enough job that there’s not too much carnage to pick up afterwards. Yesterday, faced with the prospect of an Easter Sunday driving around to places that were already closed, we spent the day steeping in our own juices at home: can we watch you play games instead? I remember that instinct too, growing up: after lunch on those half-days we’d wander down to the PUB — that’s Pence Union Building and not the drinking kind — to watch the video gamers at work with their quarters and sprites.

And yet there she is, spending the equivalent of hours and days on the couch as this weekend moved forward. I grant that we spent a long busy period Saturday wandering around outside and having a fun time but the overcorrection of sitting at home with the blinds drawn (literally) while a beautiful sunny day raged on outside, not even stopping to bother to walk the three blocks to the park, that’s galling in a way that seems perfectly reasonable at the time. The influences we will have later will be less, so why cede some of what we do have now? The targets are surprisingly low, and yet we fail to meet even those. Brilliance. We has it.

Trials and tribulations; the cumulative effect of little things like allowing unlimited screen time are not known but we’re all absorbed into our separate worlds, even when we’re sitting physically together. We work to deflect the natural curiosity of how things work in favor of small parts and finding appropriate tasks, which doesn’t help one whit. I have yet, it seems, to get over the me-first attitude that has pervaded my life with selfishness and rotten harvests. This is my weekend motivation: that we should find something interesting and remain grateful, so let’s find a way to make it happen. Entertainment is a question of inclination, not construction, and the hours we do have together are not worth spending alone.

Mike

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