Of course, it was all part of my brilliant strategy to bring the girls closer together and stop their fighting forever. It worked, too, with only a hundred thousand setbacks along the way.
We were on a two-week trip, one of those once-in-a-lifetime family journeys that require a third mortgage and a dozen tranquilizer darts. The girls had their own room, but there were no cellphones or pagers or internet hookups and the television stations didn’t broadcast in English, so they were stuck with each other. Being young, they adapted and made the best of it, becoming much closer as a result.
I wonder if the same thing will happen with my grandkids as we all participate in the residential lab experiment known as social distancing. My grandkids are pretty young, so it might be difficult to tell the difference between their normal development and the new normal, but I can’t imagine there won’t be some impact.
The grandkids are home nonstop now, as are their parents. Some people might think this is a throwback to the 1950s when almost all the moms stayed home with the kids, but it’s much different. Back then, mom didn’t have a paying job and dad was not very engaged in the child-rearing. (Yeah, I know, there were exceptions, but this was the norm.) Mostly, we were parked in front of the TV to watch Leave it to Beaver reruns while mom cleaned the house or made dinner or whatever it was she was doing while we were glued to the tube.
I never went through any sustained period when I was home with just my parents and my brother and sister, without seeing any other people, without going to school, without visits with aunts or uncles or grandparents. Actually, I’m not sure we ever spent an entire weekend that way.
Now, it’s home schooling and Take Your Offspring to Work Day, every day. It’s the time when parents confront the reality of that whole “for better or worse” thing and kids learn how to survive a nonstop play date. (Of course, mom and dad can always plop the kids down in front of the tablet and let them stream "Leave it to Beaver" reruns all day, but that's another story.)
Younger children won’t even know that anything has changed, while older ones will be more connected the rest of the world via news blurbs and social media. Still, all of them will respond to their parents’ “guidance,” molding their own responses and guidance for their own kids a few decades from now. Will the older kids make a mental note to be more prepared, more fatalistic, more family minded…or less so? Let’s all check back in 20 years and compare notes.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.