Are We There Yet?
For reasons that are still unclear to me, I will actually be turning 40 this summer. OK, I guess they’re called birthdays, and I’ve already had 39 of them, so the reasons are somewhat clear. I just don’t feel 40.I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom and before Generation X and so, like others in my 40-year-old boat, I am stuck precisely in the middle of, well, nowhere. As children we lived through bell-bottoms, go-go boots and Farrah Fawcett hair, only to end our teen years in “The Eighties,” a terribly un-hip period in our nation’s history. It’s tough to make your mark on the world with things like Dynasty shoulder pads and stirrup pants.Music by the Stray Cats and Wang Chung was big, we watched must-see TV like Joanie Loves Chachi, and got college loans at 16 percent interest rates.Camaros were hot and so was Pink Floyd; and even though the most popular song was “Cocaine,” nobody really did it.It all makes me wonder what will characterize my own children’s youth. Tattoos and belly rings. Boys in baggy pants (is it just me, or does anyone else want to walk up and give them a good yank?). Cell phones and Survivor.Ecstasy.Iraq. 9/11.The things that will distinguish their youth seem a little scarier now that I’m the parent and turning such a grown-up sounding age. I’m supposed to know how to answer tough questions like: “Why did we go to war?” and “How many light years away is heaven?”Which leads me to other parenting questions that remain elusively unanswerable as I head into the next decade, like: “How is it possible to want to kiss every inch of your newborn’s soft, snuggly little body?” “Why is the bubble wrap more exciting to play with than the toy truck that took you three weeks to find?” “Why does a Spiderman Band-Aid make pain go away faster than the plain beige ones?” “Why is it possible to have a brother who loves you sooo much that sometimes he just has to punch you?” Mercifully, there are still a few things in a kids’ life that transcend the generations. The “thwack” of a baseball on a summer night. Skiing on a crystal clear day in fresh snow. Cookies straight from the oven. Snuggling on a Saturday morning. Spongebob Squarepants.I guess it’s not important how much we know, just that we stay connected in some small way.And that shoulder pads never come back into fashion. Charla Belinski is a certified parent instructor for the popular course Redirecting Children’s Behavior. She writes from her home in Snowmass Village, and her column appears every other Sunday in the Post Independent. E-mail Charla at firstname.lastname@example.org.Charla Belinski is a certified parent instructor for the popular course Redirecting Children’s Behavior. She writes from her home in Snowmass Village, and her column appears every other Sunday in the Post Independent. E-mail Charla at email@example.com.
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