Sometimes, I think about how different childhood looked in the 80’s and 90’s from how it looks today. Technology, now so easily accessible, has changed our worlds. It’s changed how we parent, given us reasons to stay at home when our children are young and an equal amount of reasons about how important it is to maintain our careers and pre-baby identities.
The internet and smart phones have gifted us connection in the middle of the night when a newborn is crying and we can’t figure out why. It’s given us hope and it’s given us other people a million miles away.
It’s given us light when we’re struggling with figuring out why our two-year-old isn’t speaking, and community when we don’t feel confidently armed with a diagnosis. It’s given us friends who love our kids and appreciate their silly and huge milestones. It’s given us acceptance and understanding for our superhero kids and it has given us love when we want a real diagnosis, and not just one offered up if “we need it for summer camp or whatever.”
Our sons and daughters have thumb-swipe access to facts and learning and to more video games than we may have imagined back when Centipede and Pac Man were played using quarters at an arcade. Technology has given us safety and news with Amber Alerts, social media, and the ability to maintain contact with friends we went to grade school with. It has also given us over-stimulated minds, Youtube channels that will babysit our kids for us, and statistics about carseats, childhood drownings, and evil across the globe and next door. It has given us fear, and its given us knowledge, and it has given us protection.
I’m grateful for the ability to keep up with people that I may not take the time to write a letter to were this 1985, and I’m thankful that it’s easy to figure out whether my 4’2” five-year-old still needs a car seat.
Sometimes though, I feel a little bit sad that my son won’t experience some of what I did as a child.
Because this one time???
I sat on my dad’s lap while he drove us to the grocery store. Drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon.
My brothers and I, in a parking lot, messed around with all of the knobs and buttons in my parents’ car while they finished dinner because we weren’t behaving in the restaurant.
We rode in the back of a pickup truck. Standing up. Without seat belts or a hand hold.
We played Rock, Paper, Scissors to choose which cousins got to chill in the way back of the station wagon my grandma drove.
In order to find a book in a library, we used the Dewey Decimal System.
This one time, we stayed outside all day long. We didn’t have cell phones because they hadn’t yet been invented, and in order to call us home for dinner, my parents rang a cowbell from the summertime laziness of their front porch.
We played in mud and dirt and stepped on nails and got tetanus shots.
Our friends came over when they heard we had chicken pox, because it’s best to get that childhood disease over and done with early.
We had three channels on the television, and had to stand up and click a dial around to change the channel, which wasn’t often as we hardly ever watched tv.
We skied and bicycled without helmets, and we made our own snacks, using the oven to melt cheese onto tortillas and ink onto Shrinky Dinks when nobody was home.
This one time, I even went to summer camp for five weeks and only spoke to my parents once, on visitation day. My friends and I kept in touch by waiting for mail to arrive. Sometimes, that mail came with cookies and Twinkies. Yup, we ate Twinkies and canned ravioli, and are still here to talk about it.
We had to sit in front of the radio and wait for the DJ to play our favorite song if we wanted to listen to it on tape…and we had answering machines and could hear a message as it was left.
This one time? Boys with mullets were cool although our mom bringing one to the beach in a thong was not.
While I appreciate technology and advances, I also hope that my now five-year-old little boy has his own “this one time” stories to tell his own children. Or, um, those he chooses to keep to himself. Either way, I kinda miss the 80’s.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where bloggers and writers each write an ending to the week’s chosen sentence.
Host: Kristi of Finding Ninee and this week’s”This one time…” sentence thinker-upper, Jennifer of Dancing In The Rain.