Please pardon our absence the past few weeks. Summer has gotten the best of us in a good way. But onto the post at hand…
Those feet and face above belong to my now 9-year-old boy. With each birthday it seems I write just how less of a little boy my boy seems. How his legs are just a bit longer, how his interests are just a little more grown up. It's something most parents do I suppose.
With three children, there's a comfort in knowing just how it will go for the younger two–when they usually start to walk, talk, sleep through the night. But with the first born, well, you're always blazing the trail so to speak. Trying and sometimes stumbling to understand just how much (or little) to let go. When I asked Mateo what he wanted for his birthday he said Minecraft. A video game that all his friends seem to be obsessed with. And though we don't really have a "screen time" policy in our house because the boys rarely use the computer. And while I know that the time will come when they'll become attached to technology the way most of us are–it's just not now. They need to read a book, put a puzzle together, make pretend airports with their Legos.
And yet. Because this boy said he wanted nothing else really, I relented. I downloaded the first video game to my computer and with great reluctance let him sit in my chair and start to play. And of course he was hooked. At the end of a week's chores he decided he'd rather play Minecraft for an hour than get his allowance. In an instant all that I'd been trying to instill in them about technology seemed to disappear. I felt like a teenager again succumbing to peer pressure–well if all of his friends are playing…I don't want him to feel left behind…dot.dot.dot.
I don't know if it was the right thing to do. I don't know if I've open the door to more and more allowing of what I said I never would. And yet, how much of it is inevitable and unavoidable living in the times we do? Questions, I ask, questions.
In the meantime, I try my best to keep a reign on it and make sure Mateo and his brothers are still busy experiencing life away from a screen, which they manage to do just fine.
As we celebrated this beautiful boy of mine with some of the things he likes to do most–miniature golfing, walking on the beach, eating cupcakes and pizza, having a sleepover with his friends, trying new and sometimes scary things–I know that I will continue to have to bend at times. As often as I want to remain firm in my beliefs in what kind of parent I want to be, I know that sometimes the world will try and intervene. And I know there will probably be more things my eldest child will want and do that I will struggle with. But as long as we stay on this close path together, he and I, for as long as he'll let me, I'll simply continue to do the best I possibly can. And love him with all my heart. Whether he's 9 or 49.