Saturday, July 18, 2009

Making History with Ritz and Hot Chocolate

As we mark the fortieth anniversary of humans’ first trip to the moon, we’ve heard plenty of reminiscences of that incredible event. I was ten years old, old enough to understand what was happening, but not really old enough to have any idea of how important it was in our collective history. My memory of the event reflects that childish perspective.

The moon walk was televised, of course, and it was on very late at night, as I remember. For this special event, my parents allowed two huge exceptions to their usual rules.

First, we kids were allowed to stay up late to watch TV! This was really exciting for us, as television was generally restricted during the evenings; we rarely watched on school nights, except for Disney on Sunday nights!

Second, and perhaps even more exciting, we were allowed to have a snack in the living room. We were never allowed to eat in the living room, and to have a snack in that adult space and watch TV at the same time and stay up late to do it all was just too exciting.

For the record, my mother gave us Ritz crackers (with peanut butter?) and hot chocolate. on a tray. (It was probably the same black tin tray that's in my cupboard now; I use it pretty often, always thinking of her.)

These special allowances made such an impression on me that I can vividly recall their details forty years later. I even remember the texture of the wool carpet and my footie pajamas and my old pink blanket that was nearly worn to shreds.

Ironically, I guess I wasn't as excited about the moon walk itself. I fell asleep on that scratchy carpet and must have missed it altogether, because I don’t remember it at all!

1 comment:

  1. This essay touches upon one of my favorite foibles of parenting, and by favorite I mean I observe and experience it often, not that I actually enjoy or desire it. There can be and often is such a difference between what parents think they are teaching or providing for their children, and the message or experience that those same children actually receive. In your example, both were positive, but that is certainly not always the case. My father has often said to me, "I never taught you that", generally referring to something I have done or an attitude or belief I have which he does not like or agree with. I just as often have thought, "Yes, you did; you just didn't teach it consciously". In my own parenting I have tried to be aware of not only what I think I am teaching or modeling, but to probe further into my motives and to try to imagine how my words or actions might be experienced by my child at whatever age he was (or is). Somewhat of a futile endeavor as by definition it is hard to access what is unconscious. I can remember, though, that this phenomenon happens to all parents, so as not to be surprised to hear from my son about things I have taught him yet have no recollection of having done so!

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