Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quality Family Time Dammit

We bought the land our house stands on almost 30 years ago. For years it was just a great camping spot we didn't have to call anyone to reserve. It offered three things that even a state park wouldn't let you do: we could dig a hole, pee on the ground and start a fire anywhere we wanted. It remained, and still remains, fairly primitive even after we built a house here. There is nothing I love better than a good campfire in the evening. So campfires were a big activity for me but not so much to our daughters. I had a hard time getting them to join me outside to sit and watch the fire and the moon while listening to the night sounds. One night that is now part of family lore I ended up screaming for everyone to hurry up and come outside to have "quality family time, dammit!"

I thought I would fare better when I had grandchildren. They would be mesmerized by this woman a whole two generations ahead of them. They would cling to every word of wisdom that left my lips and we would explore the wonders of the universe together. We're in the middle of our second Grand Camp this summer and a couple of night ago we rented a cabin at our favorite park, Daingerfield State Park. I looked forward to taking them out to look at the stars. When we got outside I noticed lights that didn't come from the sky and realized they had both brought their Nintendos with them. They were bright enough to use as flashlights. I'm enough of a purist that I made them close the handheld games while we let our eyes adjust to the night. I invited them to join me as I lay down on the ground to watch the stars. I was in the middle of explaining why the ground was still warm because it had absorbed the warmth of the day when I realized they had both wandered back into the cabin. Then I realized how hard it was going to be to get myself back up once I was down so I just lay there a while resting and storing energy for the effort it took me to stand.

It didn't really get any better, either. At the Dairy Queen for lunch the next day I saw that we had two Nintendos, a cell phone and a digital camera stacked together on the table while we ate. None of these had been invented when their mother was their age.

I'm probably fighting a losing battle with technology. Maybe once in a while I'll be able to catch a campfire with them but I know this will have to compete with all sorts of electronic life not even invented while I'm writing this. There are a few things that remain unchanged, however. The hiking trail we hiked with their mother is still the same. And they enjoyed the paddle boats as much as she did.

Here's a video of us Tuesday morning. I'm beat. Better words next week.


Anonymous said...

video is working, heard the lapping of the water and the wind or the rush of the holy spirit, very nice, very high tech. df

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you put techy video camera in hands of said grandkids they could tape grandma trying to get up from a prone position off the ground! :-)
It all depends on your definition of "quality."