2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Imagine the next scene. Your grandmother or great-grandmother in her rocking chair, with her newborn baby, on a summer evening in 1920. In her period house, near the window listening to the sound of crickets and the repetitive cracking rocking chair.
A breeze creeping through the window as she watches her child fall asleep.
Now imagine the following scene: a 30-year-old dad cradling his son in 2018. His eyes glued to the TV. His Iphone is at hand as well as the rest of the dinner.
A night like any other is my life. But not this Monday. That night, I turned off my cell phone, the TV and left the leftovers in the fridge. I rocked my son like my grandmother would have rocked him.
Close skin to skin, near the patio door that let in the fresh air. I was listening for the first time in a long time to the melody of the crickets on a summer evening. My gaze divided between my sleeping son and the immensity of the starry sky.
With only the creaking of the rocking chair and the breathing of my son. That night, I learned to rock myself again.
We often talk aboutthe ubiquity of technology in our lives. What will be the impact on our children. Blog, newspapers and experts, all have their opinion. Not for 2 years. No more than 30 minutes a day. 2 hours a day according to other sources.
And yet, we are a generation of parents who spend more than 3 hours a day on our Iphone. Slave to the slightest notification. For fear of missing “something”. An email. A post on Facebook. The new funny video on youtube.
Missing “something”… But what exactly? That nobody knows. But we are so afraid of missing it. Is it really that scary?
That night, I missed a 5-1 loss to the Canadiens in the preseason game, and today I have leftovers from my dinner to use for my lunch.
But he has "something" that I didn't miss. A present moment shared with my son, the stars and my rocking chair. One of the most beautiful memories of my beginnings as a dad.
I don't glorify the “good old days”. Life was much harder back then. And being a parent is not necessarily easier today. Different eras. Different difficulties.
Parents today know more about child development but no longer have the same support from neighbors and the community. And infant mortality is no longer as common as it once was.
However, the pressure to be the perfect parent didn't exist back then. Or not in the same way. The role of parents has changed a lot. Often in theright direction, but not all the time.
I had the chance to visit 5 continents, build a business and earn two university degrees. All this before becoming a dad. I have more so-called “extraordinary” experience in 30 years of life than my grandmother Irene who has 96.
At the time, she heard about Ottawa on the radio, an exotic destination that she probably never imagined visiting from her life. Today I can go to Iceland for $150.
But my grandmother Irene had 16 children. She gave them everything making sure they lacked nothing. When we get together in his century old house, I always take a moment to watch him cradled in the middle of his large family, a smile on his face, enjoying the present moment.
My grandmother didn't visit every continent on earth or amass a fortune. None of that matters to him. Because she knows deep down that no trip or fortune is worth a single minute surrounded by her family. In her little century-old house, rocking herself gently, the window ajar letting in a little breeze on a summer evening.
I love you grandma