Dear Lady Jane,
When I was about your age, maybe a bit older, I’d often be in the front seat of the car with my dad on Sundays. He would have circled the garage sale ads that he was interested in and even put them in some kind of order and made a route of travel. I’m not sure what we were looking for, though if I had to guess I’d say baseball cards. All I remember is that I enjoyed it. Spending time with my dad, listening to him talk or even sing, was enough for me. Sometimes we’d even stop at the donut shop for a glazed donut or hot chocolate.
I don’t think my younger brother or sister have these memories, and I feel fortunate that I do. I usually didn’t mind accompanying either parent on an errand when it was just the two of us. It was time together and I got to sit in the front seat.
These fond memories are why I do not quite understand why it seems to be such an inconvenience for you to run errands with us. You make it pretty clear that you have much more fun at home doing your own thing, which these days is playing school or watching teacher videos on YouTube. Even when you are with me, you have trouble accepting that even though my car has internet, I still don’t let you watch videos, your head down the entire ride in another world.
You see, if you only do that, I miss important opportunities with you for conversation, to hear about what’s going on with you and what’s in your head. You miss looking out the window, asking questions about what you see or just simply b e i n g.
I didn’t have internet growing up, of course. In fact, my only technology was a Mr. Professor toy, if you can call that technology. We watched tv shows, but there were not unlimited kids options 24/7. I played with friends. I read a book. I enjoyed being in my own room playing. When there was a chance to go somewhere out of the house, it was a fun opportunity for something different.
You, on the other hand, can’t be bothered. I have no idea where this sense of entitlement came from. You have no trouble showing us what an inconvenience it is to run to the grocery store or like yesterday, look at hardwood floors at 2 or 3 stores… dragging your feet, slowly and dramatically getting out of the car, terrible attitude all the while. Your mood combined with Daddy’s tired and frustrated mood to make it a not-very-fun experience all around. And don’t you see? We won’t get those few hours back. What could have been fun was turned into a wasted opportunity. We could have played 20 questions, one of your favorite car games, or our license plate game, or this rhyming one you invented that I still don’t quite understand.
Instead, you toss your hair, put one hand on an extended hip, and look eternally bored. I’m sorry, are you 13 or something? No, you are 8! The world does not revolve around you. When your family needs to select flooring for our new garage apartment, you come with. When your mom needs to stop at the store, you come with. You do not have a choice. Complaining only makes your parents frustrated, witch does not bode well for you. I hope you’re learning that.
How about you roll with the punches a little more? It’s not good to be so rigid that you don’t want to go to dance class because it involves leaving the house. Life happens and if you don’t participate in it, I think you’ll regret it. Maybe one day you can make your own decisions, but in this house, complaining about going to school every day gets old. I have never let you stay home because you’d simply rather do that than face other people. I hope this attitude goes by the wayside very soon, because you aren’t learning it from me or these videos you watch. Maybe you are trying on a new persona? Well I think you should drop it. Pronto.
Love you lots,