I know. You think I’m crazy, don’t you?
Yes, this gaping wound in our living room is where a beloved part of our lives once took up residence. A companion like no other, she was. Friend to all, entertainer at heart…a real stand up gal.
I’m not sure where it all began today, but I know that when Curtis and I got into the van after church, he said the fateful words I’ve heard many times before, “We need to have a conversation. Like, life-altering conversation.”
So, we go through the motions of lunch, pizza from Papa Murphy’s – my fav!, and by God’s grace, we find ourselves with a perfect opportunity to chat – all three boys went to sleep. Rain. Sunday. Why not?
And it began. It’s happened before, but it always feels really cleansing each time we get into the “what can we do differently” discussions. Basically, Curtis became convicted this morning that we have some things that need to change in our family. As we talked, I asked him, “Ok, so what would a perfect day look like to you? Given the ‘unchangables’ (i.e. not really practical to give up a child, not really practical to quit your job, need to stay married) and the ‘changeables’…what would it look like?”
His answer didn’t surprise me too much, but his answer doesn’t look like many, if any, of our days currently. We talked through it all…getting up earlier for a longer quiet time means going to bed earlier or choosing to go to the gym at lunch rather than in the morning. We need to be sitting down to eat breakfast no later than 6:30 a.m. Reading time for dad and the boys while mom gets dinner finished. Play time after dinner.
I listened. And noticed. Noticed the lack of many of the things that we do without even really thinking. And the biggest thing that he didn’t mention was sitting down to watch something on television (for us, NetFlix.) Hmmmm, so if that’s not a part of your perfect day, then, why do we do it. So much?
I’ve been feeling the need for some change in this area for a while. I’ve been dragging my feet because of some concerns, mainly with Chance. But regardless of my selfish concerns, I’ve been feeling that our time in front of the tube has become a bit swollen. Chance is our early bird…and it’s not uncommon AT ALL for him to show his sunshine face at 5:00 a.m. Wilson is asleep. The baby is asleep. Mom and Dad are awake but still un-human. How do you keep a 3 year old quiet until breakfast? Videos. After I get Wilson off to school and I hit the gym, I have about an hour before lunch time. How do I keep a 3 year old occupied while I take a shower? Videos. Chance usually wakes up in a foul humor from his nap. How do I soften his reentry to the waking world? Videos. Brothers are fighting (BTW – my book on sibling rivalry came this weekend…stay tuned!) and I’m busy with the baby or cooking dinner. What to do? Videos. Mom and dad are exhausted and so are the kids but bedtime isn’t for another 30 minutes. Solution? Videos.
It’s just so easy.
Many of my memories of my childhood involve the television. Dad watched golf every Sunday afternoon. We watched MacGyver and Monday Night Football (back when you didn’t have to worry so much about the commercials during sports broadcasting) on Monday nights. We watched The Cosby Show on Thursday nights. Mom and dad watched The Weather Channel pretty much all the time.
But do I remember playing as a family? Do I remember snuggling or wrestling as a family? Do I remember us reading together? Nope…I remember watching t.v. I wonder how our decisions to spend so much time in the slick world of t.v. would have been different if we had known that our time as a family would end so much sooner than any of us ever expected? Makes me think. Makes me sad.
Conviction hits hard. Always. And with the direction Curtis’ and my conversation this afternoon was headed, I knew that we needed to make some immediate changes. We set a time frame of one week. One week with no television and no Wii playing. We’ve done it before…in fact, for about two years after I became a SAHM, we didn’t have any television. And the only thing we had up until last Christmas was videos. NetFlix came into our lives at that time and made t.v. watching a bit more enticing for our whole family. (Really, how many times can you justify sitting down with your child to watch a DVD of the same Thomas episode?) When we broke the news to Wilson that we would be putting the t.v. away after bedtime tonight, as expected, big tears of sadness rolled down his cheeks. Chance doesn’t know yet…it’ll be easier if we just rip the band aid off in the morning.
Do I think it’s going to be more than a one week deal? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have a ton more I want to do with these children than I am currently doing. I want to read more with them. I want to color more with them. I want to see them out on the trampoline with their daddy. I want to take the boys up to the school to practice bike riding in the afternoons. I want to hear Curtis teaching Wilson how to play the piano. I want to snuggle as a family and wrestle as a family (they know take it easy on mom). I want to see them play with toys. With each other. I want to hear there imaginations flying wildly around their room. And I guess if putting the t.v. in the bedroom and hiding it with a quilt is what we have to do so that we don’t waste this one shot we've been given, then…game on. Let’s do this thing!