My father told me once that if he could have one person killed, it would be whoever invented the term "the golden years". Apparently, he feels that it is a gross misrepresentation of what growing old actually is and he'd like to blood avenge it.
Since making hit lists appears to be our family pastime, I decided that the person that I would go after is the one who coined "quality time". You know, the whole it's not the amount of time that you spend with your kids, it's the quality load of shit? It's totally backfiring. Because now not only do we have to be there with them, but we have to be THERE WITH THEM, writ large. Every moment is a potential teaching moment, we have to listen to the cues our children give us, react and nurture, teach and embolden. Who the fuck are we kidding?
One day a week, my daughter and I spend an afternoon together, while my son is being all sporty. My daughter is 10, all eye rolling glory, but such a lovely person in spite of her age. She is funny and she is kind. Truly kind. I feel that the time is slipping from me, that although she still wants to spend time with me, I'm no longer the first choice. I feel lucky to have this time with her, and I am determined to make the most of it. Enter, Quality Time.
My daughter, of course, is totally onto this and she wants a laptop. A Mac laptop. Mac book Illumination. On Quality Time afternoon, she tells me about its many fine and expensive features.
"Look," I tell her. "We are on a budget. The entire country is in crisis. We can't afford a Mac Book, illuminated or not."
She looks at me as though I understand nothing and says, "I made a list of everyone in my class who has a laptop," she passes me a piece of paper that has eight names on it, with a heading "Happy and Lucky People". I assume she is giving me the list so that I know who to steal the laptop from.
"Well, there are twelve other kids in your class, that means that they don't have laptops," I put my Math Skillz to good use.
"Yes, and those kids are really unhappy," she tells me. And makes a pouty face.
That's quality time. And I love every dollar extracting second of it.