Sunday, September 13, 2009
Just sittin' around...
About two weeks into summer break, I'd taken Staten to an Orthodontist who is a friend of mine from college. While taking photos of the tooth situation, Cameron chatted away with Staten to put him at ease and asked the very conventional question: "What have you been doing so far this summer?"
I don't know if Staten was nervous about the Orthodontist visit, or if his mind just drew a flat out blank, but the surprising answer that followed was: "Ummm, just sittin' around."
My face contorted into a surprised "HUH??!!" Because to my latest knowledge, white water river rafting, trips to the beach, swimming and a full week of Cub Scout camp did not translate into Sitting Around. I tried to prompt Staten for a more inclusive answer, but all he came up with was: "And playing with the hose."
Now, there is nothing wrong at all with playing with the hose. I remember plenty of my own hot summer days being cooled off by the wonders of hose water, but it didn't very accurately portray all that had transpired and in the two weeks my son was accounting for, so in that moment I had an epiphany.
OK, it may have been my husband who had the epiphany when I relayed the scenario to him later that evening. I don't know exactly whose brainchild it was, so suffice it to say that "we" (The Royal We I tend to use a lot in my marriage) decided to keep track of everything our family did this summer so the kids could visually see the heaps of fun memories they accrued in the weeks and months that followed.
Because our house is still under renovation, we had the luxury of writing directly on an unfinished wall (a column, to be more exact) with a crisp black Sharpie pen. (I don't want to think about what my 1 and 3 year old may have learned from our example, but so far it remains the only place in the house with permanent ink plastering it, and our fingers are tightly crossed.)
It was so much fun to keep track of our experiences this way, and we successfully filled two sides of the column with one thrilling escapade after another. (Giving fair air time to small joys along with the more obvious adventures so long as each triggered a memory.)
Now we have a great synopsis of our outstanding summer permanently etched on a column in the dining room (that will soon be covered in stone, which is why I have pictures to document), and the problem is no longer recalling what we've done with our summer, but deciding which of our 137 bullet points to include in a recap.
I wonder if this could have the same tongue tying effect on my kids that I saw in the conversation that started this whole thing. Imagine someone asking them now "So what did you do with your summer?"
"Ummm," they would say as their mind tried to sift through the neverending list of documented memories, and just maybe the answer would follow: "Ummm....we wrote on a wall." Which is not much more descriptive than "Just sittin' around," but hey, we had a GREAT time doing it!