According to our good friends over at Wikipedia the oldest known forms of bricks date back to around 7,500 B.C in some place that goes by the name of Çayönü. I guess you could call them the first building blocks that mankind used to provide themselves with a measure of safety from the elements and give them some form of protection from intruders and wild animals. Since then they’ve been used in one form or another by almost every society and civilization that has come down the pipe and their usefulness has thus far withstood the test of time.
This marks the first few weeks of summer where my kid has no planned activities. There’s no soccer or Girl Scout camp on the horizon and for the time being she’s been left to her own devices on how to while the way the hours while I’m toiling away at the office. She complains of “boredom” and that she “has no friends” and just about every proposal I make is greeted with a frown that looks as if I’d just farted in an elevator. When I get home and ask her what she did during the day I hear the proverbial “Nuthin” and I feel bad about her sitting home alone. I try to compensate by doing things like going to the movies or shopping but I guess a fifty year old is poor substitute when it comes to having fun with a bunch of your friends.
Along the way, there’s been a bit of recent tension between us and I try not to nitpick too much but some things just get under my skin. Case in point, I got home the other day and was greeted by a sink full of dishes from the night before. When I asked why she didn’t do them her response was that “she” (hands on hips in defiant posture) hadn’t used any during the day and that it was my job to take care of them. I held my breath and calmly informed her that while I don’t wear her clothes, I still wash them on a regular basis. She started giggling a bit and I didn’t see the humor of the situation so I asked her what the hell she thought was so funny.
”Dad, I was just picturing you wearing my clothes”.
I need to lighten up some…
I guess I’m learning just how hard it is to please a budding teenager and I find myself wandering back in time and think to myself about what I used to do when I was faced with the same circumstances. After all, both my parents worked and when school was out I too was left alone and felt abandoned by the world. This was long before the advent of VCR’s and DVD’s and the days where you could bring entertainment right to your doorstep. When it’s all said and done though, I guess the old adage holds true, that there’s no substitute for friends.
So now we’ve come up with a plan. We’ve filled out some forms where she can volunteer for four or five hours a day at the local library. It’s only a short bicycle ride away and I don’t know what she’ll be doing but it’s got to be better than sitting on the sofa surrounded by ice cream wrappers and empty glasses with only the remote control to keep you company. On weekends where she doesn’t have any plans, she’s volunteering some her time at the local animal shelter where she’ll be doing chores that if I asked her to do at home would be an affront to her thirteen year old sensibilities.
I guess we’re trying to build on something here. She can’t be quite so dependent on me anymore to be entertained 24/7 and has got to step to the plate and take care of some things on her own. I’ll always be there with a gentle nudge to try and guide her on her way but the days of my doing it all are slowly coming to an end.
One brick at a time…