I left “the city” 23 years ago, kicking and screaming, to settle in the land of white picket fences and minivans. It was my husband’s idea to trade culture, diversity, and excitement for blandness, boredom, and home repairs (he actually viewed it as trading grit and grime for fresh air and bike rides, but I digress). “Our children will be so much more sophisticated and worldly if we stay in the city,” I cried. Ultimately, I have absolutely no regrets about raising our children in suburbia. There is plenty of time for kids to become savvy and sophisticated in their own due time, and affording them a real childhood of backyard swing sets, playing kickball on the cul-de-sac with the rest of the neighborhood kids, and trick or treating until they could no longer lug their candy sack, was well worth the sacrifice. I, too, have made wonderful friends and have become part of a very tight knit and caring community.
So we didn’t have the depression or World War II, like our parents, and we missed huge swaths of the Vietnam War. Any credibility on how tough life was in the 1970s might be hard to come by. But just because we didn’t have it bad, doesn’t mean that we don’t think our kids have it better, much, much better. Here are some of the reasons we wish we could be our children:
We may have Facebook pages but our friends never seem to post embarrassing and deeply compromising photos of what they do when they are drunk. When we look on Facebook we see family photos, sunsets and graduations and find that we have little to ridicule our friends with the next morning. (At first we thought that maybe our friends don’t get tipsy often enough, but now we realize it is more likely that when they have been badly over served they can no longer operate or perhaps even remember that there is a camera on their cell phones.)
2. SAT tutoring
While it doesn’t look like fun, it sure beats going into the test cold and realizing that you do not even understand the first question. Continue reading →
That little face. My daughter had a face like a kitten. Being an only, she had developed the ability to amuse herself on her own, just like a cat! To me, the middle child in a big family, this was a marvel. I was always in the fray. Unlike my child, I could not amuse myself and I never had the time or opportunity to try.
When my daughter was born, I negotiated six weeks of leave with an extra two if I had a C-section. I didn’t have the section but I took the two weeks anyway. When I went back, I pushed for a four-day week and got it. I became sort of a champion of “working moms” in a tough fast-paced ad agency. Herein lies the rub we all know. In those four days, I worked longer and harder than I ever had. When I got home, most often quite late, there was my little kitten, padding around our kitchen in pj’s with Dad or our live-out sitter Michelle. She would run to me with her sparkly eyes and her Mamie (a fuzzled lamb she usually had pressed to her face.) I would put her to bed and sing to her—she loved my versions of old Broadway tunes! Continue reading →
Saturday mornings dawn with the luxurious realization that the day belongs to me, my husband, one very self sufficient high school daughter, and two chocolate Labradors. Weekends are no longer dominated by our two kids’ soccer-hockey-lacrosse-football-baseball games- track and swim meets (and the tailgate that went with it.) While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them develop from clumsy little kids just learning the rules of the sports to varsity and even collegiate athletes, I am not mourning the end of that phase of their young lives. Continue reading →
Tara Parker-Pope reports in the February 5, 2012, New York Times Magazine, that teens are engaged in less risky behavior than their parents were. Whew….can we all breathe a sigh of relief? She quotes Dr. John Santelli, president-elect for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine who says There is a lot more media hype around the kids who are raising hell.There are a lot of kids who are pretty responsible.
My eighteen-year-old son thought it was strange when I told him that I had taken a picture of him and his three siblings while they were blissfully sleeping on two cots and in two twin beds while sharing a kids’ room during a weekend escape to the Poconos. I got a bit choked up trying to explain to him that seeing all of my children gathered in one room is something that I treasure. They are my sleeping beauties.
With my oldest gainfully employed and living in her own apartment, my middle two kids absorbed in college, and my “baby” finishing his senior year in high school, there aren’t that many times these days that our family can juggle the conflicting work and school schedules to all be together. When we do manage to coordinate our schedules for uninterrupted family time, we have so much fun eating together, debating politics, taking hikes, being outdoors, playing ping pong, and enjoying board games. Continue reading →