Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Volleyball's End

Girls in their last huddle after the award ceremony
Aden recently had her last volleyball game of the season.  I'm so pleased she decided to give playing on the team a try and that it worked out well.  Participating in a sport can be good or terrible.  I only experienced the terrible at her age.  I'm glad my daughter got to experience the good.

The Fernwood Pirates 8th Grade Girls' Volleyball team wrapped up the 2015-16 season with 42 wins and 2 losses.  It was really fun to go every week as a family to cheer Aden and her team on.  I enjoyed watching all of the players steadily improve.  It was moving to see how consistently encouraging and kind the coach and the players managed to be.  Aden was not one of the power players, but she got better with every game, and by the last one her energy and commitment made us really proud.

There was a lot to learn by suddenly being a family that did sports, though.  The first was keeping track of the shifting schedule.  We missed the second game of the season because we didn't realize at first that the game times moved so much.  Games could start anywhere from 5:30 to 9:00 (which still seems shockingly late to begin any activity with kids), and if we missed an email about a change it was easy to not show up at the right time.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

At a Loss

Some days you don't get to pick your attitude.  I know there is many a pithy quote to be found on Facebook about choosing a positive thought and about how all you can control is yourself so you have only yourself to blame if you are not happy.

Well, when things are on an even keel, sure.  Some days, though, we need to cut ourselves some slack if we don't have the energy to force some more noble perspective.

My birthday is this week and I'm not feeling good about it.  It's my first birthday without my dad.  His birthday would have been on Easter this year and it's the first one of his since he died.  I don't like these kinds of firsts.  I keep tearing up unexpectedly.  I can go weeks at a time at this point where I don't think of dad in terms of loss, just in terms of pleasant memory, but not this weekend.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Entertainment Evolution

I'm often surprised when talking to my children how little I really know about their lives anymore.  We have such a tight grip on everything about them when they are tiny that it's hard to shake that impression of our role even as it changes.  I used to have responsibility for every detail of their days, and now they select their own entertainment, seek out their own books, enjoy inside jokes with people I've never met, and eat foods I had no hand in. Like most of parenting it's bittersweet.

But every once in a while I make a point of grilling them past the one word answers I'm used to getting and try to find more information so I'll understand them better.  Most recently I did that with Aden and her latest computer obsession and I learned a lot.

Compared to most of the kids we know, mine own a fairly limited amount of technology.  They share a single iPad that they got as a Christmas gift a few years ago from their aunt.  (They have about a dozen apps on it, which their friends with pages and pages of apps to scroll through find amusing.)  Aden has a laptop we got her with schoolwork in mind, and a DS thingy that I don't quite understand, but it wasn't expensive and she mostly uses it as an awkward means of creating her own animation.  A few months ago we hooked up an old Atari to the TV, and Quinn enjoys playing Frogger and Pitfall II.  We have Netflix streaming but no cable.  None of them own phones.

Despite this limited access to modern devices, my kids are well-versed in current video game culture.  Aden is obsessed with the Legend of Zelda and can tell you when the latest version of GTA is out.  My kids are all into Minecraft and make many small items in its image out of perler beads.

I've offered to my kids to get them a modern gaming system if they feel left out among their peers.  Same with phones, actually.  Just because something doesn't interest me doesn't mean I want them to be out of step with what the culture they live in is up to.  But they insist they are fine.  They don't mind sharing the iPad.  They don't need video game options beyond what the box of vintage Atari cartridges offers.