Bollywood from Another Room. That could be the title of the movie of my life, if it were based on today only. My husband and kids are on their second Bollywood of the afternoon. Why they jumped straight to New Delhi after a week of “screen-fasting” I don’t know, but the music is fabulous!
Screen fasting is a good thing. We try it a few times a year. It’s pretty tough for a couple of the kids (and kinda for me, to be honest. I do love a little social-media-break, and all my creativity as a writer seems to happen behind a screen). There’s one in particular who suffers. But it gets better for even that child as time goes by. They all admit to having a lot of fun by the time it’s over.
This time around we went to a relative’s cabin on the mountain where I got a sunburn in the strangest arrowhead shape on my neck while I read on the porch. It was 30 degrees cooler there, and a fabulous break. We ate baloney sandwiches (I didn’t dare light the gas stove…) which were definitely not a hit, and two bags of mini-doughnuts, which were. I think I bought as many snacks for that overnight excursion as I usually buy in a two-month period. We read aloud, too, which I love more than the kids do, but this selection was fun–“The Great Brain at the Academy.” As a kid I adored the Great Brain books. I think I wished I could marry his older brother Sweyn. It was my kids’ first intro to the fun middle-grade series, even though I started in the middle with number four, they easily caught the plot and characters, especially Tom’s great brain and money-loving heart combo. Good laughs. And lots of spiders at the cabin. And dirty feet? Yes, indeed. Their hikes to the Hidden Valley and the rope swing were evident on their feet. Required serious scrubbing when we got home.
We also took a day and went to visit grandparents and cousins. The kids played board games with their cousins and slid on sleeping bags down the stairs. Their hike into the desert lasted a total of about ten steps before thorns poked through the soles of my 5 year old’s pink crocs shoes and they all had to come back. My boys did some yard clean up and walked down to the hamburger stand for a milkshake. They all played a lot of games that involved chasing and screaming. Good times.
During the week they also invented a game called “comic wars,” where they wrote on a white board and “fought” each other in drawings they made of themselves and each other. Even if there was a whole slew of “bears biting you on the head,” the creativity was hilarious to me. It’s like necessity was the mother of invention.
I remember a line from a Michael McLean song that said, “Every sleepless night knows many mothers who are wondering if they’ve done ’em right….Did she spoil them too much or not trust them enough to prepare them for life in this world?” I have those all the time. I worry myself sick alternately that I’ve either neglected them or smothered them. How do I strike that balance between strict and lenient, guiding them and allowing independence, threats and bribery? It’s terrifying that they didn’t arrive from heaven with individualized instruction manuals. I’m muddling through.
But this week felt good.
And so, I say: Bring on the 600 Otter Pops. Summer is begun!