A Note from Aline

A parent said to me, “you don’t write as much [in the newsletter] as you used to.”

Am I running out of things to say (never) Are we running out of time to read? (I hope, never)

So, I revised a piece I wrote 8 years ago, and here it is.


Sacrifice for your kids this spring break.  Hey, you say, we do that all the time. Maybe we do. I am thinking, perhaps, of a different kind of sacrifice.  For example:
1)You are checking emails  - phone, laptop, wherever you check emails --  and your child says, “Mom, come out and shoot hoops with me.”
Instead of, “I can’t right now.  I’m checking emails,” go out and shoot hoops.  Surprise your child, surprise yourself and shoot some hoops. I mean, checking emails is necessary, but there’s time for that.  Before you know it, you won’t get asked to shoot hoops, and that’s when you will want to. Leave the emails.
2)It’s 55 degrees and sunny, mild for a March day, and you just want to chill with your phone - online shopping, listen to a podcast.  Just a little time to yourself. “Dad, can we play in the snow before it all melts? It’s really good for building things while it’s melting.  Can we?”
Get out the snowpants, boots, mittens (maybe not a jacket since it is “warm”) and build a snow house. Roll in the snow -  a lovely feeling. You can chill with your phone at night.
3)The tool drawer is a mess, and you can’t find anything when you need it, so you yank the whole thing out, put it on the floor and start to sort it out.  “What are you doing? Can I help?” says your four-year-old.
Resist the temptation to say “no” and sacrifice the neat, organized drawer you envisioned.  Let it be a process of messing around with the tools and see what happens. No one in the world your child would rather learn about tools from than you.
What you don’t need to do is have a plan or make an activity or spend money.  You can find stuff at home – regular stuff that you do together.
Maybe it’s not a sacrifice for you.  Maybe you do it all the time and the emails don’t get checked and you don’t have a phone and your tool drawer is a mess.  I know I am guilty of sitting at this laptop to the exclusion of all else, and I am not proud of that, and it did not make my kids happy. Or me.
So, right now, I am closing it up and going upstairs to sit on my son’s bed with the dog and talk about the day. Oops -- the kids are in college and all grown up -- and not upstairs.

(Don’t miss this part of their young lives.)