Perspective of time
Sundae's post on the NHS brouhaha at her daughter's school and Lisa's prom photo have made me look back on life, and what we learn - or at least can see more clearly - from the persepctive of time. I woke up with this thought this morning, about how important things seem in the moment, and how trivial they are when we look back on them later.
That "perfect" dress that we were dying to wear, the bad call some umpire made in a game, the guy we thought was a dream, who ended up as a dud. It's easy as an older adult to see the silliness of some of our past passions.
As a young parent, we probably latch onto a lot of foolishness and subject our offspring to it, too. Lisa wriote about too many toys, and I would bet every one of them was selected by someone who adores those kids, and thought at the time that that plastic item would somehow enhance their lives. (Remember Cabbage Patch wars? My opt-out was to make my two girls homemade CP babies. We all laugh now about the head falling off of one of them...talk about a formative experience!)
When I look at the kids' childhood photos, I can see some of my own developmental stages (and stupidity) playing out in what they are wearing, who they were with, where we were when we took that shot; thus, what I thought they needed to be "exposed to" and involved in growing up. When I read that last p[hrase, it is almost sounds like building an immune system with vaccines...and I see which influences took and which were a gigantic waste of time.
I moved a child from one school to another once...but followed my administrator's advice, and claimed it was for my convenience as a teacher, to have her ride to school for work with me. Back then, if you asked for a transfer for the real reason - her teacher was a lousy one - the system would have dug in its heels and made her stay put. (!?!)
That was a good decision, but I am sure I made a ton of bad ones, looking at them from today's lofty perch. The funny thing is, either it takes a minimum number of year to gain this vantage point, or I've
gotten a tiny bit better at gauging what I do - and why I do it - in more recent years.
Then again, I wonder what in my "important" category today will be blatantly "ignorant" when I consider it in the light of another ten or twenty years. I tend to think of these foibles in terms of wishes, as in "I wish I hadn't wasted so much time and energy doing _______."
My main regret in the rearview mirror is that I wish I hadn't given so much time to volunteer work that didnt' amount to anything, to fulfill my own need for the approval of others.
Anyone else want to fill in the blank today, and 'fess up about some foolishness of your own?
Re: Perspective of time
I will think about the foolishness thing and fess up later but your comment about the pile of plastic toys was exactly the subject of a conversation Ed and I had this morning.
The two DGD's ages 8 and 4 stayed here last night. We did a craft project in the new craft room that they are going to give mom and dad to hang in their offices. They wrote letters to their cousin who just moved away. He will love to get those! The four of us watched a movie together. This morning we made pancakes and "kid coffee", a concoction of milk, tiny shake of sugar, and a splash of coffee in a kid-sized mug.
Our conversation centered around how much more meaningful these moments are than any amount of plastic. Of course parents are going to provide the plastic "stuff" within reason. Walk into any home with kids under the age of 12 and you are going to find "stuff". It comes with the territory. It goes as the kids grow up and is gone when they go away, way too soon. We all wanted our kids to have the best we could provide. We all probably went overboard at times. And all too soon that part of life is gone forever.
I think today's young families are learning a hard lesson that may have a hidden benefit. They are struggling to make ends meet and are finding that "stuff" is not as important as a family.
It is nice to be at the grandparent stage where our role is to provide those moments of special attention and make something memorable out of nothing!
Re: Perspective of time
Mike and I used to call that 'brat coffee.'
I think Starbucks stole everyone's Grandma's recipe, calls it a "latte," and sells it for five bucks a cup!
Plastic in everything takes on a whole new dinension when you hear the recent research in how most of it is releasing chemicals that mimic estrogen. NPR ran a feature interview this week on the subject, and I for one will never re-heat leftovers in a plastic container again....