Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Kids Need

A blank canvas.

A few raw materials.

The freedom to create something unexpected.

Temperatures have hovered near freezing all week, so as you can see, our snow and ice are lingering.

Yesterday Dragonstar's dad called. He and his wife live across town in a cabin tucked back in a hollow. Their power has been out since Tuesday. They have a wood stove for heat, and they have water -- though no hot water -- so they've been able to stay put while utility crews work to get power restored to the one-third of the city that's been without it all week.

It was supposed to be a cabin weekend for Dragonstar, but he wasn't sure she'd want to come, given the (ahem) rustic conditions -- no Wii, no internet, no dvds, cooking food in a pot on the woodstove and eating in lantern-light. Plus, her step-brother was away with his own dad, and wouldn't be around to play.

She barely hesitated (and only because she was concerned that, with the BBPiT off on a road trip, I'd be home alone all weekend.) Hell, yeah, she wanted to come.

Here's what she told me after she hung up the phone: no step-brother meant she could play with the dog without constant interference. (Her step-brother is a wee bit possessive of the family border collie.) And no electricity meant no one would be on their laptops. They would be interacting with each other instead of with machines. And that sounded like a great weekend to her.

When her dad came to pick her up, he told her they'd have to shower at the Y in town, since there was no hot water at the cabin. She lit up. "We get to go to the Y, too?"

Kids need a whole let less of what our culture says they need, and a whole lot more of what is so often denied them: time spent in the company of the people they love. Dragonstar didn't give a damn about the Wii. She was looking forward to having her dad's full attention for two days.

And dinner by lantern light sounded pretty cool, too.


  1. So very true! I hope her weekend was better than anticipated.

  2. Her weekend was a grand adventure, and she had a great time, and she was glad to be home again Sunday night. And I'm envious of you down south right now! xox, ps


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