[For those of you who read last week's Fast Forward post which contained ... well ... nothing ... it was because my computer decided to fast forward things and publish the post immediately after I entered the post title into the editor instead of merely saving the post. Sorry for the vast array of white space in the post!]
Is life moving on fast forward? Time seems to be racing by - the Summer over in an instant, suddenly vibrant Autumn leaves now faded and falling, Thanksgiving swiftly approaching. There's barely time to catch a breath between birthdays, holidays, classes, meetings, appointments, and life.
November weighs heavy on my spirit, with sad anniversaries mixed with holiday preparation excitement. November brings with it a longing for a change for the calmer, the slower, the more serene. I first turn inward, attempting to sort out my wants and needs, define boundaries, and get my life and my thoughts in order. Then I turn to the bigger picture and delve into deeper conversations with those around me as to what the upcoming Winter will hold and what expectations and changes might come with it.
One such conversation with my kids caused a great amount of silence. I stared the conversation telling the kids that I'm tired. Tired because I have a chronic illness, yes, but tired in other ways. I'm tired of the arguing, the nit-picking, the can I play on this?, the it's my turn, the non-stop conversations about game play, the the thing I'm most thankful for today is being caught up on all my games, the games games games. And the messy rooms. And the eating all the food before everyone has served themselves. But mostly I'm tired of all the extra work all of this puts on my shoulders. I'm tired of it, and I'm just plain tired.
Then I dropped the bomb. No games with screens until Christmas.
I think all of them may have ceased breathing for a moment there.
When they spend so much screen time playing games, their lives seem on fast forward. "It couldn't possibly have been twenty minutes." "It can't possibly be so late in the day." "Yes," I say, "it's the games that have warped your sense of time and stolen from you the slow, lazy pieces of your childhood."
It's time to take life off of fast forward. Instead of video games, there will be writing and reading and the types of game play that involve cardboard mats with colorful squares or boards with a checker pattern and little pieces or games that come with pencil and paper and lots of wordplay. There will be sharing and playing outside and cooking and making things with our own hands. We will listen to music and sing and put on plays and enjoy each other. We will take quiet time to read or draw or nap or let our imaginations run wild. And maybe, just maybe, during Mama's quiet time, there will be snippets of those childhood-stealing games allowed, but only for those who speak nicely, are respectful of others, take turns, and stop the gameplay and gamespeak when their turn ends.
Life doesn't come with rewind. It doesn't even have a pause button. And oh, how marvelous it would be with a mute button! But it does have play, and this Mama prefers play to fast forward.