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Little Guest Room In The Suburbs

We are spending the waning days of our summer vacation in the dubious luxury of a not quite ready for prime time guest room at my mother's house in NJ.
So that means there's a whole lotta "suckin' it up" goin' on...

Tragically for my eleven year old it means, gasp, no bedroom TV.
"What am I going to dooooooooo?"

"Well, you can read your summer book assignment!"
I offered this suggestion hoping she'd take advantage of this splendid gift of time, but knowing I'd probably feel her forehead if she did.

"Mom, what's wrong with the lights, I'm flicking the switch and they're not comin' on"...

And since frantically flicking the switch and freaking out is always the answer, she begins to melt unsilently,

I am informed by my brother that, temporarily, there is no lighting in our suite.
No, lights, no television and a Nintendo DS in need of charging (with the closest outlet miles away from the bed)....
It's as primitive as a suburban house in NJ can be.

"This is... JUST AWFUL!" cries my tragic rag doll, throwing herself across our air conditioned room and slumping onto the freshly laundered bedspread.

I realize now that I have failed her as a parent.
I have not slept out in the woods with her nearly enough...
or at all.
If we were riding the Oregon Trail,
we'd never make it out of Missouri.

"So what now, Mom?"
"What now? It's 11:00!...How about sleep?"
"It's too dark", she mewls
"Mary, there are streetlights outside of the window, it's not too dark"
"Just knowing we don't have a lamp makes it darker for me, Mom."

So we both stretch across the bed and stare at the spackle on the ceiling.

"Remember when I read you the Little House books, Mary?"
"It was even darker for them, plus they had no TV."
"I bet they would have one if they were around, Ma"
"Maybe, but I don't know, Mary...not everyone now has, or even wants, a TV..
there's a lot to be said for unplugging and just being quiet for a while, I pontificate hitting my stride,
"ya know... we all should just learn to get by with less stuff."
"Yeah but remember when Laura had that corncob in a rag that she pretended was a doll?"
"Oh yeah, Mar, I remember that."
"Then she got a real doll for Christmas and she flipped out?"
"Laura had no problem trading up, Mom...just sayin' "

"Good point...Goodnight Mary"
"Goodnight Ma."

Peace ~ Rene


  1. Learning to appreciate the things we take for granted? Priceless.

    Spending time lying on the bed looking at the ceiling and talking with your daughter, without the distractions of a TV and Nintendo DS? Even more Priceless.

    Enjoy your last days of summer.

  2. ah the luxuries we live with...we have no tv...or at least not one that gets cable...only a 10 inch to watch movies on occassionally...and dont get me started on back in the day when we had to walk up hill both ways to school...smiles. cute moment...

  3. ha ha

    love it

    but you are a cruel mother
    expect a call from DYFS any moment

  4. What a nice mother-daughter moment. We go through that every time the power goes out. No TV, no lights, no computer, and no outlet to charge anything.

  5. Oh, the horror!

    Kid's got a good point, though...especially when people learned they could trade up from corn cobs to TP.

  6. Ha! Trading up. :D

    My poor girls had to spend a whole week with no TV at all, recently. It took about 2-1/2 days for them to figure out what else they could do. The turning point for my 8 year-old was when I ordered her to stop staring at the "broken" (as far as they knew) TV and imagining what she would be watching if it worked and find something else to do. Then she actually finished a book!

  7. I found myself enjoying this. No matter whether you write poetry, post a photograph or write a scene, a stong current of feeling flows from it. It's a gift. Cannot be taught.


  8. I hope that there will be many more moments of the both of you staring up at the spackle and talking together. I'm sure she'll survive and one day look back on this as a very special memory.

  9. Oh, my God---no TV? I'm shaking too hard to type right now.


  10. No TV Rene! That's stone age!! Ah well, time to get out the books and put the eyes to the test I guess!

  11. I can't believe the deprivation!


    Little bugger. She'll be telling her friends how she roughed it!!


  12. Lovely moment.

    Those summer reading assignments are killing my child. Such torture.

  13. Corn on the cob sounds really good. Thanks for the idea. So, she's what, 13, 14?


  14. Yep, remember the dark ages when we had rotary phones and had to get up to change the tv channel!? lol

    I was just in Jersey!

  15. "I realize now that I have failed her as a parent. I have not slept out in the woods with her nearly enough...or at all."

    Oh, Rene, funny as always. What a darling story too. Must admit Mary's "just sayin'" has some merit, don't you think?! :)

    Speakking of unplugged --that's me--no TV at all. Why? Well a couple of reasons: 1. don't wait topay for the cable I'd have to have here- (too expensive) , 2. Rarely watch TV and any of the shows I enjoyed like BSG or V I can get on the internet. 3. Takes up far too much onf ones free time.

    Now, life unplugged without my laptop? Never!! I'd be just like your Mary there. lol.

  16. only the best of Moms
    can play the parts of
    Mom and Sister well,
    and simultaneously.

    you are that.


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