Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Rise and Fall of Technology

Last night, for some inexplicable reason, we had a black-out.  Not just a “blew a fuse, back on in 3 minutes” black-out, but a proper pitch black, city wide and potentially county-wide, black-out.  It happened about 6:30 p.m., so there was not even a drop of daylight left.  After about 3 minutes of shrill blood-curdling screams from 7 year old H – who is really afraid of the dark – our little family banded together and went on a search for candles and flashlights.  Thank goodness the kids weren’t in the basement alone, as they sometime are at that time of night!

Once we got all the candles lit and H settled down, and realized that this was a potential long-term situation, we all hunkered down in the living room.  Now, judge me if you will, but I can’t remember the last time all four of us were in a room together and it didn’t involve a meal, TV or videogames.  It was REALLY nice.  When conversation began to lag, I started telling them “B & H Stories.”  When the kids were really young, before bed, the three of us would snuggle on my bed and I would tell “B & H stories” and they always start the same way: “Once there was a little girl called H and she had a big brother named B, and they liked to go on adventures.” Then I would spin an impossible story about where they went and what they did.  We haven’t done B & H  stories for at least two years, and Steve had never heard one. So I spun the tale of how B & H wanted to go to the highest mountain in the world but couldn’t be bothered to climb it so they used a hot air balloon, got unbalanced at the very tip of the mountain and rolled down it, only to eat pizza and dance party with the sherpas.  We were all in stitches, and when it was over, B promptly asked for another. 

Just then, the lights came back on. It seemed glaringly bright and I asked B to turn them back off, but he was having none of it.  As quickly as that, the spell of our black-out night was broken and the the almost full hour of perfection was over.  The kids darted away to their normal “lighted” activities and I was alone. 

I sat there for a while, musing about how easy it was to get into a lovely “family only” moment when there were no other distractions, and about how truly few of those we've had as a family.  About how nice it was and how I wish there were more, and about how, despite all of the hardships, the families of the distant past must have been much closer and stronger as a unit than we are today, because there were so many fewer distractions. It makes me sad for our current, rushed, tech-filled, independence-driven families. We are really missing out on something fantastic.  Maybe I’ll implement a monthly “pioneer times” night, with nothing but candle light, board games, and B & H stories…


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