Thursday, July 9, 2015

On Being a Spectacle and Not Doing All the Things

We went to one of our favorite parks this morning which is about ten minutes away but it was rush hour so more like twenty-five.  It's right on the river though so I'm pretty sure there is a bit of something that may or may not be considered almost a breeze coming off of the water.  On the other hand that might be wishful fantasizing on my part.  I choose to believe there's a breeze in any case, especially if you start walking very quickly.

There was a nanny at the park, or an au pair if her employers are fancy--and we were in Old Town Alexandria so they probably were.  She seemed fairly shocked that all the children crawling over me were mine.  "You take care of all of your kids and you clean your own house too?" she asked me incredulously.  Why yes, yes I do.

Sometimes it seems like I'm always a spectacle.  Especially up here in Northern Virginia.

Everyone is just so busy here--busy working, busy driving (oh the driving!), busy doing all the things--especially the kids. If you are a six almost seven year old boy in our neighborhood you are expected to be in cubscouts year round, winter and summer swim lessons, soccer (fall and spring) and baseball which conflicts with spring soccer so sometimes you'll have to choose which game to go to on Saturday and also maybe tiquando, you know, if you can fit it in.  And summer camps.  A lot of them.  Which is crazy just logistics-wise, especially when you factor in traffic (and you do have to factor in traffic) but also cost-wise.  There are fees for all of those things plus uniforms and equipment and coach's presents and snack duty and on and on.  No wonder no one has more than two kids.  Who can afford it?  Who can manage their schedules?

Living here, I have to constantly remind myself that it's okay, the kids are okay.  They don't need to do all the things to grow and thrive.  And really, doing all the things isn't the way to make them thrive anyway--even if we could afford it.  Playing at the park, going to the pool, wandering in the woods.  It's enough.   And maybe next year we'll try to fit baseball back in.

We'll probably always be a spectacle though--that's why we usually venture out before all the other families.  That and the humidity.


And if you were wondering, that's an old broken ring box David has in the pictures that he found on the steps of the lighthouse.  I told him someone must have left it there after they were proposed to and he said he wanted to save it for his future fiance.  I told him that he'd probably get a new box with the ring he buys her when and if the time comes but he was not convinced.  He finally decided to leave it behind though after I told him the new owner of the ring might come back looking for it and we wouldn't want her to be sad :)

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