Tuesday, January 01, 2013

At Home Together but Apart

We had a somewhat unstructured New Years Day celebration today. I spent three hours of the day at the first installment of The Hobbit with two family members.

The movie is a spectacular and incredible adaptation of JRR Tolkien's book and various writings. I must admit that I was surprised to see families with quite young children in attendance. The movie includes some pretty dicey scenes.

Later in the day I had hoped that we could relax together as a family. (None of us are sports enthusiasts, so we had skipped the day's various televised athletic competitions.) But everyone was too busy with their own pursuits to be bothered.

One child was upstairs desperately trying to master a new video game. Another was downstairs trying to complete schoolwork that should have been done long before the final day of Christmas vacation. Two were in the family room. But one was wearing headphones and was glued to the laptop, while the other was watching a video that nobody else in the family can stand to watch. My wonderful wife was at the dining room table working on a sewing project for one of the children. (She once enjoyed sewing. Now she only does it at great need.) Finding no willing companions, I retreated to the office.

The modern American family home can be both a blessing and a curse. When there is enough room for each person to have their own space, the need to spend time together is minimized, even on a holiday when families traditionally spend time together.

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