Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short

Just this past weekend, my daughter returned to Michigan State University and moved into her first apartment.  After taking more than a year off to recover from some health issues I have gotten used to her being here, and the house seems so quiet now.

My son is still at home but will be starting his senior year of high school in just a couple of weeks.  His time here, too, is limited.

I often think back to when they were small and how long and chaotic the days felt.  Now it seems like it has gone by in the blink of an eye.

Years ago I heard an expression regarding the time spent raising your children.  "The days are long, but the years are short."  When you are in the middle of play dates, school plays, sports, scouts, and the myriad of other things in which your children are involved, it feels like the time you spend carting them around will never end.  Now it seems it has ended far too quickly.

If parenting has taught me anything, it is the virtue of patience.  Patience not only is needed to deal with children on a daily basis, but also with the time and energy that is spent guiding, teaching and just plain giving of yourself to them.  For that precious time will one day come to an end.

For those of you still in the midst of raising young children, enjoy every moment, even the difficult ones, and resist the urge to wish them away.

Like it or not, one day that wish will definitely come true.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

DVR-ing Through Life

A few years ago I discovered something life-altering: the magic of the DVR.

This wonderful device now allows me to watch a half-hour show in a little over 20 minutes.  It has spared my hearing from the obnoxious advertisers who still insist on recording commercials at ten times the volume of the program I was viewing.  I have been able to escape from the endless array of product promotions extolling the woes of PMS, incontinence and, my personal favorite, erectile dysfunction.

There are a  few commercials I find clever and funny, like the Allstate "Mayhem" commercials with the guy who declares himself to be a tree branch, a raccoon, or an annoying child in the back of a car to demonstrate what could happen if you aren't insured for these situations.  I love the one where he is the streaker on a football field and declares, "I'm 300 pounds, painted blue and wearing nothing but cleats."

Most commercials, however, are downright annoying.  The Pier One commercials with the tag line "Find what speaks to you" get on my nerves, but that is mostly because the only thing the items in Pier One say to me is "You can't afford me."

The commercials I absolutely cannot stand are the Cottonelle toilet paper commercials where the woman with the British accent walks up to strangers in shopping malls and airports and asks them "How's your bum?'  Clearly this is staged since the people in the commercials cheerily discuss personal hygiene with a perfect stranger.

If some woman walked up to me on an airport concourse and began firing off questions of this nature, I would not be so lively and forthcoming.  I would whip out the pepper stray and start screaming for a TSA agent.

So these days I happily skip through the feminine hygiene commercials and get to the good stuff.  It's a shame we can't do the same with the little everyday annoyances in life.  How nice would it be to press a button and skip the traffic jam, the long lines at the grocery store or the endless wait at the doctor's office.

But life doesn't work that way.  Like commercials, you have wade through the annoying to get to the gratifying part.  If you get into the habit of skipping through what you think is unnecessary too often, you might miss out on something good.

Sometimes you just need to resist the urge to hit that fast-forward button.  You might just discover a hidden gem.

Then again, you may also come across an advertisement for adult diapers, but that's a chance you take.