Family time.

photo credit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/lilie
photo credit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/lilie

When I was a growing up, the only television was in the den. Well, that’s not 100% true. We had a really small black and white with a pop up top in the kitchen. I remember this because I used to watch that TV when I cleaned the kitchen after dinner each night. Well, to be fair, I watched TV for an hour or more and then cleaned the kitchen. But that’s off point.

We had one reasonably sized TV.

After we finished our homework (or after we said we’d finished our homework, because seriously parents did not check back then. If I’m going to be truly honest, I don’t check on my kids either. I don’t track their teachers’ pages or assignments. It’s their responsibility. I do ask them. But I really have no idea if they’re telling me the truth. But as a wise friend reminded me today, they’re going to be on their own soon enough. They need to be able to figure it out.)

Alright, let me finish my sentence. After we finished our homework, we would gather in the den to watch Laugh In or Mission Impossible or Get Smart or The Prisoner.

Sure, we stared at the screen. But dammit, we were together.

Fast forward to 2014.

We have a TV in our main living space. But each of us also has “TV” on a variety of devices that we can access from our bedrooms, the bathroom, the kitchen, office or wherever else. And that’s exactly what happens.

Everyone is watching on his (or her – that’s me) own. It’s particularly anti-social.

And it’s the reason that I sometimes hate the Internet.

Being realistic, it’s not as if I think I’d be having deep and lasting conversations with my teenage sons during House of Cards. But, it could happen!

Plus, it’d be particularly awesome to know what the heck my kids were watching. And yes, I could see what they watch on Netflix if I wanted, but we all know that there are lots of other things and other ways and… well, let’s not be naive here.

My point is not that I don’t approve of what they watch. My point is that I would love to have more time together. I know they’re growing up. And growing up fast. But if this was 1975, they’d at least be stuck with me if they wanted to watch a TV series. Which they are currently not.

Alone in a crowd of millions.

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Sometimes things look just fine on the surface. People seem happy. They post their barbecues, their new shoes, pithy comments. And everything looks fine. Better than fine.

You know you’re guilty. I know I am. We choose what to show the world.

No harm in that.

Wouldn’t  want to air our dirty laundry, right?

And most of the time, it’s fine. Or at least it’s not a problem.

Or is it? Is the pressure we put on ourselves to appear fine – or better than fine – healthy? And what about the fabulous people who care about us and would be support if they knew what was really brewing. Are we keeping them at arms length?

Are we just perpetuating isolation?

 

PS: Mom, I’m fine. Just in case you were worried.