Saturday afternoon errands brought us right in front of a local farmer’s market. The gargantuan green-striped watermelons immediately caught the attention of my kiddos.
The melons were definitely the biggest they’d ever seen; not like the perfectly round, almost uniform in size babies we knew from the grocery store. These colossal submarine-shaped promises of sugary goodness were calling our names. So when the farmer mentioned how juicy and sweet they had been, my boys were already wrestling one into the car.
Much to my amazement, we managed to get the super-melon back home in one piece, despite the fact that the kids were taking turns trying to decide if it weighed more than our goldendoodle.
After clearing what must have been the entire refrigerator to accommodate our precious find, I was asked every 5 minutes about when it would be cold. “Why don’t we let it chill overnight?” I suggested, “We’ll have all-you-can-eat watermelon with lunch tomorrow.”
Tomorrow came, and after turning down recommendations for a watermelon breakfast, we managed to make it to 11am. Let the cutting begin!
The first cut, intended to bisect the melon, led to a stunning revelation – seeds. Big, black seeds were everywhere. Jaws dropped. No child of mine had even seen watermelon seeds.
“I’m not eating seeds,” proclaimed my daughter. “Of course not, you spit them out,” I explained, knowing that anything to do with spitting would be eagerly embraced by my bunch.
We carried the big wedges outside for a new old-fashioned experience.
Then it hit me – if my darlings don’t even know about watermelon seeds, what else are they missing out on? Yes, we had a conversation about wall-mounted telephones with cords after visiting Great-Grandma’s house, but I wondered how much farther this went…
I made a few general observations about our progeny:
- They expect – and get – entertainment at the snap of a finger. They’ll never know the satisfaction of finally seeing your favorite music video after waiting for hours or even days. They don’t know that we used to watch T.V. one episode a week, in real time and not whenever it was convenient. *Shameful admission: I fell asleep at the end of the E.R. finale. It still haunts me. But my children will never feel my pain.
- Heartbreakingly, they will rarely darken the doors of an actual library. No need to scour an encyclopedia or learn the Dewey decimal system since the internet unleashes all of the world’s wonders. But no matter how advanced, a phone app will never replace the intoxicating waft of paper merging with ink.
- They think sneakers should cost over $100.00. Seriously, what is up with the prices of athletic shoes, or athletic gear in general? My nine year old pooled his birthday money to buy LeBron’s. He has more money tied up in basketball shoes than I have in my good china.
- They’re missing out on actual conversations incorporating real (spoken) words. Their plugged-in lifestyle means texts can be exchanged purely with emoji’s and tweets in 140 characters or less. Body language used to go a long way. Remember the head nod? A quick uptick of the chin and back down. It was universally employed by high school boys during the first wave of non-verbal communication.
- Nothing is generic. They have no one-size-fits-all anything. Their playlists are customized, their Yeti cups are monogrammed, their Netflix accounts are curated; everything is finely tuned to meet their needs before they even have them.
So what’s next for our kids? Homes on Mars? Autonomous cars? Maybe, probably, then what’s a mom to do?
Of course we’ll love our children, after all, it’s not exactly their fault that the universe has opened up so far beyond our wildest imaginations.
Just as with every generation before us, we’ll see them through the inevitable ups and downs, and hopefully – once in a while – we can help them unplug… and encounter some watermelon seeds along the way.