Keeper of The Fruit Loops

Our Parents Had It Easy. And I’m Jealous.

January 5, 2016

The other day, I got the dreaded “Your phone storage is almost full” message and realized it was time to clean up my phone. Read: it was time to play “Press Your Luck” over which apps I could keep, how many photos to delete and just exactly how many text messages were necessary. No whammies, no whammies….

After scrolling through my photos and uploading them to my computer, I realized that I deleted 978 photos.


That number seems high, right?

I further realized that I was carrying around these 978 photos everywhere I went: the grocery store, the park, on a run. At any given moment during the day, I have almost 1000 photos at my disposal to scroll through and view. 1000 photos taken just in the last few months, most of which won’t even make it to the light of day because, let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for scrapbooking.

As I pondered the exorbitant number of photos in my device, I started to think about parenting “back in the day”. You know, parenting B.C.P.: Before Cell Phones. I started to think about what our parents left the house with for a day out with the kids versus what we deem necessary and it made me come to a stark realization: my mother is probably laughing her ASS off at me EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Things My Mother Would Have To Throw In The Back Of The Ford Grenada In Order To Be As “Prepared” As I Am On A Daily Basis:

1). A Commodore 6000 computer and keyboard

2). A Rand McNally Road Atlas

3). The phone book (white AND yellow pages, please).

4). 15 photo albums

5). 46 LP records and record player.

6). Scrabble board

7). Day planner

8). TV with rabbit ears for news and weather updates

9). A pad of paper

10). A flash light

11). A phone with a cord

12). The entire contents of a K Mart store

13). A clock

14). A compass

15). A bird that tweets.

16). George Jetson style monitor system for face to face interaction

17). A court stenographer for dictating memos.

18). A flock of angry birds.

19). A movie theater.

20). A bag of candy and a hammer.

21). A Polaroid camera.

22). A mailbox to receive mail from friends.

23). The entire contents of her bank account.

24). A realtor sitting in the back seat to verify that the house next door is, in fact, selling for 250K.

25). Creepy, emotionless, incredibly smart lady to sit in front seat to answer any and all questions.

Though this list is obviously in jest (I mean, come on: getting a flock of angry birds into the back of a wood paneled station wagon would be next to impossible), it has really made me think about the kind of parents we are today. As I look at this list, I wonder to myself, “Did my mother really just put us in the car and just DRIVE somewhere?”. I mean, what if she got lost? What if she was on “E” and needed gas? How on earth did she know where the next gas station was??

Parenting today is so different from when our parents did it and, frankly, I wish I’d gotten to do my parenting in the 1970s as well. Can you imagine the blissful freedom of just driving down the street; windows down, listening to Credence Clearwater Revival and letting the day plan itself? I often think about the noise my parents never had to deal with: constant emails, texts, IMs, social media and feel jealous that they got to parent us during easier times.

I’m envious that my mother could be more free with her time, that she had more personal interactions with other parents (read: 23 phone calls to organize a class party…okay, maybe I’m not jealous of that…), and that she didn’t have to worry about phrases like “cyber bullying” and “sexting” and “conscious uncoupling”. She wore Candies sandals, had kids piled into the backseat of a car sans seatbelts and the only news she got was from Dan Rather at 6pm sharp.

She played actual board games with her friends, had to stop and have a face to face conversation if she was lost and needed directions, and had to take us to a movie theater to see a new film that we only saw once (until we got our VCR in 1986). Most of her memories of those days are just those: memories in her head because cameras were not permanently attached to everyone’s hands. Yes, we have pink tinged, Kodak moments marking time in photo albums but they represent quality over quantity.

Our parents’ generation exercised quality over quantity in ways that we will never be able to thanks to technology and our never-ending quest to make things “easier” on ourselves. Technology, while amazing in some capacities, has served to make us busier, less connected and frankly, over prepared for lives that don’t require us to have 1000 photos at our disposal on a random Tuesday afternoon. Life can be simple. And it used to be. I miss those days I’ll never get to have.

Mostly, though, I’m just jealous of that Green Grenada with the plush green interior. That was a sweet ride, I tell you.

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