Saturday, April 9, 2011


First backyards bonfire of the season tonight. The wood, having sat out in the snow all winter, was wet and the fire never really took off. But Julie, Mathea and I sat out there for a couple hours. There's something about sitting around a fire. Even the dogs sense it -- they come up and hunker down with their people, acting for all the world like those wolves that we first tamed back in the Pleistocene.

You'll never have a conversation like that watching a movie, either. Sitting in the backyard with no ipods, no DVD players, no Facebook, you can really talk. Teya is at a great age where she regularly feels free to evaluate our parenting, and she's starting to make decisions about what she will do and what she won't when she's in charge. Part of the fun tonight was for Julie and I to talk about how we've set priorities on time management, earning, spending, vacations, and more, for the last fifteen years. Teya soaked it all in graciously, only making one comment late in the conversation about how her parents like to "monologue" at her, talking toward her like a podcast. Too true, I'm afraid.

But it's kind of fun to think about alternatives. What would life be like now if, back in the day, Julie and I had decided instead that she should work full time and we should try to buy most of the things we wanted, instead of living without many of our wants all these years? Life would indeed be a lot different. It would have impacted where the girls went to school, what we did for vacations, the cars we drove, the furniture we sat on, the food we ate and the table we ate it on. Perhaps most frightening, it would have radically changed what it meant for us to have time together as a family and what close-to-the-heart memories the girls look back on as important family times.

Worth pondering.

All this because I decided to start a fire tonight.

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