Saturday, June 21, 2014

One year...and today..

~ "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”`Betty Smith~A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

 Summer vacation is not like it used to be..or at least not like I remember it.  When it seemed like there was an endless stretch of days- possibility ahead of me...First thing in the morning I would be out the door riding my bike..running in the eternity spent outside outside playing "red light green light" or "ring and run"  until the street lights came on- which everyone knows is  the universal signal that it was time to go home. It was a rare day that was spent inside-as most of us had mothers admonishing us to  "GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!" The days were warm, but I don't remember being bothered by it-except maybe at night..when all we had were window fans blowing in hot air. So much has changed since then. At least for me. Summer still means endless days..only they aren't as carefree as they used to be

  I suppose that some of it has to do with being an adult-and some with how the times have changed.  Now days, kids have play dates and organized activities..Wii, Nintendo, and more television stations than I can count. When I was growing up we had four television stations (Omar had one) ..and they rarely-if ever, played kids shows. So-we had no choice but to learn how entertain ourselves. My problem now- has been in teaching my kids how to entertain themselves. Especially with all the fun technology and gadgets...which- in the early years- I embraced with wide open arms. It saved my life-and that is in all seriousness.

  Yes, there were many days that I had shamelessly allowed my children to sit in front of the television-or the computer screen...sometimes for hours. I admit it.  For years the background soundtrack of my life/ house were the theme songs from every obnoxious childrens program my kids were obsessed with. The thing is-the kids-especially the boys  gained a lot of knowledge from these shows..I remember when Sam was the only one in third grade to know what "haggis" was-thanks Scooby Doo! They learned about the world in a way that wasn't overwhelming. It calmed them down-made sense of things. So, I don't regret it. Even if their theme songs have become etched in my brain... So much so-that, to this day, I can still remember every single word to every single Thomas the Tank Engine song-and most of the dialogue from every single episode...Oh how I wish that there were a quiz show based on that.."I'll take Thomas's cheeky friends for 1000 Alex." I would be financially set for life! 

  Every summer, since the kids have started school...I make these plans...schemes if you will.."This summer we are going to do science projects, and visit the library..and spend our time out doors!" *sigh*...and then August rolls around and I'm buying school supplies and I realize we have done none of it...and that the reality is that I spent the majority of my time delegating whose turn it was to use the computer..or pick the t.v. show. But-this summer...this summer it's going to be different. I swear.

  A year ago yesterday-Omar, along with many of the other well paid employees of his company, lost his job. It set us in a tail spin.  But, sometimes spinning is good. This was definitely a year of spins. We reevaluated, refocused..and basically figured out that life wasn't about work..that we wanted to do things..have adventures..LIVE our lives-be the examples that we wanted our kids to see. At the same time, our kids each spun through their own things as one however, as much as Oscar. 

  I don't know what happened..or even why things happened..But last summer, you would have had to PRY Oscar away from the computer..insist he do something that wasn't electronic..He wasn't interested in anything other than what he knew. But then- a few months ago-things started was gradual at first.  He started asking to walk to town.."I'm thirteen" was his reason....and then he brought home a brochure for summer sleep away camp..AND looked up the web site-AND had me fill out an application..."I'm thirteen" he told me.."I'm old enough to do this"..and then he started walking away from the computer.."I need to get out of my head" he's told me...and then he went to the school dance-alone.."I want to" he said...Today-he(and Sam) started working at our restaurant (bought as a result of this year)..They swept and stocked,,cleaned and folded pizza boxes..measured pasta and made lasagna- on their own. Today-we started them on the road to real independence-and they loved it.

 Every single moment of chaos and uncertainty- that started a year ago yesterday, was totally worth it for today..Today really was priceless. 

  Our Summer break started this past Wednesday.  We have already gone to the library..Zoe has read two books and has planned our first science project.(she really wants to be home schooled)  we are building a volcano on Sunday.All of them have spent at least an hour each day reading. I have only heard "I'm bored" 540 times (roughly-and 536 of them were from Lily) and the only back ground noise has been from the kids playing in the pool.  Not bad so far...


Anonymous said...

Wonderful news!! I am so happy for you and your family! Love Ei

Looking for Blue Sky said...

So pleased for you all, and so hopeful for my own family after reading this xxxxx

Floortime Lite Mama said...

oh this is so FANTASTIC
Also can I just say that I LOVE your writing
I know totally what you mean about our kids not knowing how to play.
R certainly is that way
I will say that I personally do not remember holidays being so wonderful as I was SOOOOOO bored a lot of the time - I was always waiting for school to start so as to have something to do.
My mum always made us visit relatives and we had very few books that we oculd carry.
I just think if I had had endless electronic libraries and could read books all the time how awesome would it have been

jazzygal said...

Wow, I am very impressed. Now to get my boy to willingly walk away from a screen, any screen! He will do things and go places if I organise and choose wisely. He'll moan but do it and then be glad that he did.
Congrats on the new restaurant and the very best of luck with it. Delighted that Sam and Oscar getting so involved! xx

kathleen said...

@bluesky-thanks :)
@floortime-oh I so agree..I always hated not having enough books to read..
@Jazzy-a paycheck provides lots of encouragement!

Stephanie Allen Crist said...

Awesome and a special congrats on the restaurant!

I must have missed that news, 'cause it's either that or you slipped it in without sufficient fan fare. I'm figuring I missed it. I haven't quite reached the year-point, but I'm getting rather familiar with the spinning part of the journey.