We are on spring break this week at my house and while we’ve been pretty busy experiencing things, one thing we’ve haven’t experienced much of are sun breaks during this very wet and cold vacation. Because Mister Soandso has limited vacation opportunities right now and this is a nutty-nutty time at work for me as well, we are spring breaking at home. Picture three children, none of whom agrees on how they want to spend their time combined with buckets of rain, hail, and more rain… and, well, please send this mama cocktails.
As you might imagine, we took the kids to see a movie one night. The movie was fine, although it would have been a lot “finer” at say $3 a person. It may have been “great” if it had been free. Anyhoo, there in the theater, waiting for the movie to start, I noticed how many things are a constant at movie theaters: worn seats, the sticky floor, and for my children, surround sound.
That creepy little whispering voice zipped around the room, reminding me that this overpriced PG-rated film would surround me in sound. And I was also reminded of the first time I experienced surround sound.
It was long ago enough that I don’t remember the year nor do I remember the movie. But I do remember that feeling of wonderment. “How did they do that?!” Sure, it was easy enough to figure out, but that first experience of the new, that first brush with something unexpected in a situation that I had learned followed a fairly constant process…it filled me with wonder.
And I am saddened that my kids will never have that experience.
For them, all movie theater experiences include some level of worn seats, sticky floors, and full-body viewing reactions. Their 3-D movies are nothing like the 3-D movies of my past. Their special effects make 1982 TRON look laughable. Their movies are digitalized and optimized and never include the bright flash and tap-tap-tap of a broken film.
What will they wonder over? For their world is far more sophisticated than mine at their age.
And yet, not all of their world is flash and glam and surround-sound. And their world includes wonderment even in what may seem mundane.
Mister Soandso is the better parent when it comes to spontaneity. He is the fun one. The parent who made mashed potato chew-chew trains and pureed sweet potato airplanes. The parent who leaves the dishes every night to play with them. (It is a good thing they have him, frankly.) In a moment of spontaneity last weekend he announced, “Come on! I have a crazy idea!”
Each person would get $3 to spend on something that caught their fancy. And, here’s the wonderful part: the grown-ups wouldn’t judge the items chosen for purchase.
Off we trundled to the thrift store which happened to have a 50% off sale. Each person had their $3 to spend however he/she wanted. Middlest held up a “vintage” plastic bird cage now yellow with green and pink plastic flowers. “Hey Mom! Look at this! Isn’t it neat?!? It would be great in my room!” she shouted. We rubbed some of the lint/dust/mystery fuzz off it and tried to figure out how to hang it. “Hmm, maybe not,” she said to my immense relief.
You can imagine the pain of biting my tongue over that one. I swear, its grime was older than even me.
Ever the practical one, I scooped up a pastry cutter to replace mine that recently broke. Mister Soandso brought home an egg slicer missing half its parts. Biggest found a coffee cup. Middlest purchased a toy microscope and a Red Riding Hood jacket. Littlest found nothing and sobbed as we left the thrift store and went to the Dollar Store, where he got a plastic sword that makes noise when in use and a pair of Silly Straw Glasses.
And the best part is how happy folks are with their purchases. Even today when the sword no longer makes noises and the egg slicer proves a challenge. My family is happy because each item is more than merely an item. That collection of “stuff” is a reminder of a fun afternoon of picking up items off shelves and wondering what its story was and how that story could include us.
That is the best wonderment of all… I wonder how this can become part of my life, how this moment in time will become part of my constant.
ps. The coffee mug that Biggest brought home? It reads “This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.” I wonder how Biggest, Middlest and Littlest will shape their world. How will you shape yours? I wonder…