In our crazy, mixed up world, I have seen many things. Throw in a bunch of teens over the years, a few young adults, pre-teens, babies, and everything in between and there is not much I haven’t been exposed to. I have touched vomit, held chewing gum, used spit as a cleanser, and sat on a freezing, metal plank for hours on end cheering on a budding athlete. I have conquered all in Pong, Mario Brothers, Space Invaders, Hydro-Thunder, Barbie World, Madden 13, 14, 15, and now 16. I know all of the Ninja Mutant Turtles by name and know that they represent the artists of the Renaissance.
Yes, I can spell Renaissance without even using the grammar checker. I have worked my way through at least three million spelling lists helping young spellers get prepared for a test. I can run a PC AND a Mac – better than most of my kids. I can multiply, divide, subtract, and add but I have a difficult time understanding Common Core and why they want my child to strive for the lowest level. I am fully aware of the difference between real Legos and Minecraft. I love to play tennis on a real court but haven’t a clue how to play tennis on the Wii. I am the boss – or maybe I should say I was, the boss – on Guitar Hero.
No matter what the culture has thrown at me, as a mother I have adjusted. I have tried to be open-minded to the trends and patterns of the current society in which my children function. We have sheltered and paid for pigs, sheep, turtles, fish, gerbils, dogs, cats, chickens, goats, guineas, and more cats than can be named in a short story. I have helped rub conditioner on pig skin and oiled the hooves, sheared sheep and walked them in circles. I have clipped the wings of chickens and bottle fed more cats than can be named in a short story. I have attended many gerbil funerals, bird funerals, and not enough cat funerals. Through it all I tried to keep my composure and let the children fully explore the world around them.
I watched the fashions come and go with my children. After a bit it all goes in a circle. What my older sisters wore in high school, came back around with my third child. What I wore in high school is generally how my teen leaves the house in the mornings. A pair of old jeans with a shirt and some boots or tennies. One of the biggest differences I notice between the generations is the volume of items. I had one pair of shoes to play basketball, track, volleyball, and anything else I decided to do. The succeeding generations have a different shoe, specialty socks, and scientifically engineered underwear for each and every sport. I did NOT.
I believe we tied our shoes together and slung them over our shoulder as we walked to school. I digress. My point is that over the years of raising eight children, many things have come and gone. Many ideas, thought patterns, and philosophical standards, have changed, thus altering the way we perceive our world. What we once thought was cemented in truth has been challenged and contested. Ideas we have heavily relied on are no longer supported in the current culture.
I have tried to parse through each situation and maintain my moral and personal integrity while trying also to be fair minded and gracious. Alas, last week I saw something that was quite shocking.
I was in the drive through line at Chick-Fil-A (I apologize to all Chick-Fil-A owners, but this is absolutely true) and the line was moving at a steady pace. I pulled up, placed my order and merged into the payout line. I could see a large dog in the car directly in front of me. We all oozed forward until said car came to the payout window.
There must have been a small mix-up. The young man at the window kept talking while I could clearly see that the debit card had not been returned to the driver. The dog “woofed” and out of nowhere comes a hand through the check-out window bearing a chicken nugget. The driver shakes her head and puts up her hand as if to say, “No thanks.”
The hand in the window insists with a little push towards the car. Finally, the driver takes the nugget and hands it to the dog. Yes, the dog! He “woofs” and another nugget comes out the check-out window. I am astounded. One more nugget and I am in shock.
Never once, in all of my child-rearing days did I ever receive chicken nuggets, or other tidbits of food, for the screaming herd in the back of my van. Three nuggets is an entire meal for some. Think of the money I could have saved.
“Yes, sweetie, we are going back around just one more time. I know, I know, but I really think you might be full after three times around.”