Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sleeping Bags, Flashlights and of course, the IMac.

Remember sleeping out as a kid? Canvas tents. Musty smells. Cotton sleeping bags covered with dew by morning. Someone's brother would come and scare you to death rattling the sides of the tent. Blair Witch Project stuff. Scary stories told with flashlights held to the face.

That’s not what happened here tonight.

Sure, there were flashlights. Sleeping bags. Nylon- not nearly as warm but seriously dew resistant. There were a couple of scary stories told by flashlight. But as I watched the kids all gather around an IMac computer my wife had brought out for them to watch a DVD on, I knew the nostalgia was over.

It wasn’t even an old IMac. It was a new one, with flexible screen and round base. High tech speakers attached. Couldn’t have the built in one. Where’s the sound quality in that?

The party started out as most parties involving a group of boys do- loud running around, shouting, tackling, dragging out of inappropriate toys to pounce on- this time it was sleds from the garage. Global warming and climate change is certainly a problem but sleds in August? Only a group of 9 year old boys could drag out sleds, jump on them in hopes they will slide and suffer the wounds from the sleds resistance to the grass and soil with a confidence they might have gotten it to move if they had just the right angle.

Before anyone jumps down my throat about girls versus boys, I am a feminist. I gave my boys dolls. I gave my boys trucks. I have made them listen to Maria Callas. I have let them listen to 50 Cent. Barbie’s, flamboyant dress up clothes, and as many female centered storybooks as I could find have filled their lives. I can’t even say I’m gender neutral. I’m completely woman biased.

I have never seen a girl throw herself on top of a toddler’s, full sized plastic car, pushing with all her might sending the car downhill, arms outstretched, thinking, this will be fun.

Girls jumping on sleds in August? No. Just my boys.

After the sled attempts and the series of band-aids it required, dinner was served. Hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries and loud shouting. The Mountain Dew limit had been reached during the sled races, so the ever-foreign MILK was served.

I can see Zachary as an adult, sitting in the chair opposite his therapist. And then, you know, she served milk. At my birthday. She served milk. Shoving his face into his hands, sobbing at the indignity.

Let this be known now- I am a mother who is not afraid to serve milk. I expect no potty talk at the table, even at birthdays when everyone is gathered around shirtless, filthy feet, screaming at the top of their lungs.

I love listening to the kids at the table. To hear them shout over each other and hear their beliefs, no, insistences about the world is refreshing. Cleansing.

Wait, Wait, Wait…

No, listen to me…

GUYS! C’mon, GUYS, you gotta hear this…

Wait… THIS is funny. No, wait, c’mon, c’mon, listen, this is REALLY funny…

All familiar refrains from my own childhood friends. The connection. The sincerity. The passion of belief. The tent is still pitched in the backyard. They are still wrapped in sleeping bags. Flashlights are still being pointed in every direction.

The IMac… well, that’s new.


Blogger Casey said...

I most certainly would of been the one girl to jump on top of a barbie mobile or a sled or anything to race down a slope in mid august!! I've done it many times, my idea, not a boys idea, and had to add that a huge card board box under the sled would work much bettr, I mean there was no snow. Now a boy would just keep jumping onto the sled and get mad because it didn't work, it takes a girl to figure it out and make it work!

2:29 PM  

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