Johanna Garth is the author of The Persephone Campbell Series; a modern take on the myth of Hades and Persephone. Johanna lives in McLean, Virginia with her husband and two children.
Monday, November 14, 2011
T is for Television and Twinkies
The first morning of saying Yes was pretty easy. It was a no school day and my kids were attending an all day gymnastics camp with their friends. They were out the door before any of us had time to explore what it means for me to say yes.
We didn't have one of these.
It was a different story when they came home. They wanted to watch T.V.
At this point I feel I should explain something. My parents were transplants to Oregon, the kind that came from a big city in search of a better life, organic food and sustainable living. Part of that better life, according to my parents, included NO television. At some point before I was born, my mother kicked T.V. to the curb and it was about fifteen years before it made a reappearance in any form.
My husband, on the other hand, was the third boy in his family. By the time he came along, television was a foregone conclusion. If you wanted to watch television you turned it on, sat down and watched.
These weren't part of my childhood either!
The difference between our relationships with television is like the difference between Twinkies and Trail mix sweetened with carob. Because I suffered through a childhood of teachers assigning essays on the subject of your favorite Saturday morning cartoon character and people regularly accusing me of not growing up in this country due to my complete ignorance about shows like the A-Team and Cheers, I decided to make a different choice for my kids. They would watch T.V. Not as much as my husband did, but more than I had. We would achieve a happy medium.
Still, every time they ask to watch T.V. I have a little pang. Shouldn't they be reading, playing with legos, sewing with hemp or something? Is watching Avatar the Last Airbender really the best use of their time? When they ask to watch T.V. I tend to stall. I say things like, "I suppose you could, but I was thinking we could all make cookies first," or "T.V.'s not really an after school activity. It's more of a Saturday morning kind of thing."
Okay, so cut to the chase. It's after gymnastics camp. They want to watch T.V. I take a deep breath and say Yes. They scamper down to the basement and I make dinner. Thirty minutes later they reappear. "Can we watch another episode?" Another deep breath followed by another Yes. My son kisses my hand. "You're the nicest mommy ever," he tells me. The realization begins to dawn that my T.V. based split-personality might be out of control.
Maybe I wasn't missing that much!
My husband gets home. "Where are the kids?"
"Downstairs watching T.V."
He goes down to the basement and, from the kitchen I hear him say, "Okay, that's enough T.V. Time to turn it off."
It feels good! And you know what? I do feel a little bit lighter, more joyful, maybe even more fulfilled. What remains to be seen is whether it's the saying Yes or just not having to be the one to insist it's time to turn it off.
Author's note: Those of you who know me well, will also know I had to Google 80's television shows to come up with those references to the A-Team and Cheers. Those of you who don't know me as well, now understand the full extent of my complete cluelessness about late 70's and 80's media!