I met a friend at the movies tonight and she has four boys. Yes, I do bow down and kiss the ground she walks on for handling this with grace and humor. We were talking about how inundated our children are with technology 24/7. IM, texting, facebook, cell phones and computers all seem to have taken the place of actual conversations between human beings. The kids are tethered together by battery powered umbilical cords instead. My son will text his friends when he needs something, and on the rare occasion he actually calls them, it usually ends up in voicemail. The kids don’t pick up as it just interrupts important things like Guitar Hero or raiding the refrigerator for the fourth time today. But no one takes this personally, except the moms.
I am staring at a picture that my mom emailed to me last night from Eric’s trip to the beach. It shows my youngest son laying on his stomach in a tidepool, looking very tan and happy as he smiled at the camera with sand crusting his hair,like frosting on a cupcake. Next to him is his new friend, Haven. Haven is slightly older than him with dark hair and a sweetly round face. She is also laying in the tidepool, but instead of smiling at the camera, she is intently focused on my son’s face. I smiled as I remembered exactly how that felt to look at a boy like that. Haven lives in North Carolina and Eric lives here in Georgia, so it may be just the summer of 2009 that they spend together, but it is a picture I will keep for him to remind him of Haven.
My son is coming home tomorrow from my parent’s house. He has had a great time making lots of desserts every night and playing at the beach all day. It is the perfect summer vacation as far as I am concerned. My mom is a little worried about the amount of sugar my child has consumed, but he has found a partner in crime with my dad. Last night he was feeling a bit under the weather, convinced he had contracted diarrhea…from our dog…who he hasn’t seen in almost two weeks. Eric always enjoys the doting he receives at grandma and pop pops house, right down to the warm towels my mom heats for him to step into after a bath.
I got my butt out the door early today to walk Archie, our Old English Sheepdog. We had to give him a summer cut, which I am sure he is grateful for in blazing hotlanta, but I think we took a bit of his dignity as well and I felt bad about that. At least until about 15 minutes into our walk…
My youngest son is spending a few days with my parents in Florida. Eric is notorious for losing things, like winter coats and toothbrushes, and true to form, he arrived to their house with just one sneaker. He also usually only wears one sock (and so does his friend Natalia- I’m pretty sure it’s not a gang thing since they are only 10). Considering his history, the missing shoe wasn’t too surprising. I asked him one day when it was oh, about ten below outside and he had lost yet another coat, why he couldn’t find his things? It was like he was the opposite of a magnet, repelling stuff across time and space to drive his mother crazy. It was working like a charm.
I fell through the rabbit hole like Alice today. I walked into a writing workshop with a finished book in my head and in my hands. My story had taken me about a decade to live and slightly less than three months to actually get it down on paper. As I sat there with my neat stack of typewritten pages in my hands, I listened to the other people in the room (13 others) share their stories from their heads and hearts and dreams. We all have something to say and chose to put ourselves through the writing process, which wasn’t at all what I expected. Then again, that seems to be a theme in my life-I rarely end up where I was headed to in the first place. It’s not that I am directionally challenged, just the opposite. I am a planner and yes, I know there are medications for this, but I am what I am. Writing is a lot like parenting, you go with your gut, pour your heart and soul into it, even on the days you don’t feel like it, and pray for the best. There are no guarantees that your kids (or books) will turn out well, but I am hopeful. My neat little story had morphed into something else by the end of the day and I am excited to see where it is going to take me.