Wednesday, January 23, 2013


After a weekend filled with the usual struggles over electronic devices, it was delightful - and disorienting? - to have the kids read out loud to each other after dinner, as they took turns doing dishes. Then we all played a few rounds of their sudden new favorite, charades. I half expected someone to demand I fry up some apples 'n' onions and roast some potatoes over the open fire. (Instead, the two minors retreated to play a little Minecraft before bed, so all was right with the world once again).

Anyhow. I say this so that tomorrow or next week when I feel like shipping Silas off to military school I will remember that he is at heart a good kid, and capable of behaving with kindness and generosity toward others, even his sister. Despite any momentary evidence that he is not.

This weekend, as we were driving up into the mountains to go skiing, Si was in one of his testier moods. Not at all in a bad way - just determined to marshal the argument against us. " 'An idler is not somebody who is lazy. An idler is someone who wants to enjoy their life and enjoy lots of freedom in their life. Idlers raise children who are more independent and do more for themselves,' " he read to us in an instructional tone from his new book, Unbored. "I'm an Idler. That's what I am. See?"

"That's really good that you're able to be aware of yourself like that," I said. "But it's also good to look around and pay attention to what you give up if that's how you really want to live life."

And I wish I could have been a more Zen parent and left it at that, but of course we got into a pointed discussion about how idle hands are a Devil's workshop, et cetera et cetera, and how b) we're the most idle parents of anyone in your acquaintance, and 3) that's great if you want to be idle but don't expect to have a big nice house in the Preserve or be taking any fancy vacations with that lifestyle.

"But if that's who you are and what you want to be," I finished with a panting return to cheerfulness, "Then that's great! It's good to know that. But also understand what you'll have to give up."

Pant pant pant.

A rare moment of togetherness on the slopes.
Skiing was fine. The snow is terrible. I came straight home and apologized to all the trees and perennials in my care: looks like it's going to be a water-restricted summer, friends. Meanwhile, it was at least freakishly warm and brilliantly sunny. Lately I've been skiing with Silas and his cousin while Mike does Helen duty (which isn't the exercise in gritted-teeth patience that it once was, either), so for the first time since the nineties I've actually been having the sort of ski day that people mean when they say they want to go skiing. Every now and then I get left behind, and Silas did say something about boring it is to ski with me because he always has to stop and wait - but, you know, wind in my hair (or streaming over my helmet), aching legs. exhilaration, etc. It was nice.


Alien in CH said...

You're doing well to ski with Silas. No one in my family wants to wait for me anymore.

Melospiza said...

The really pathetic thing is that I'm skiing better than I ever have before, and I'll get down a slope and think, WOW, I really NAILED that one, and there Silas will be in the distance, leaning wearisomely on his ski poles with a look of polite patience on his face.