We all know that times have changed. It is no longer normal, or sometimes even possible, for kids to walk 10 miles to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways. Yet we’ve all done it. When our kids are whining about some insignificant first world problem that could mean the end of their world we’ve pulled out the “when I was your age” story.
Say perhaps the Japanese restaurant that we are ordering dinner from online is *gasp* out of ahi tuna. We might say….when I was your age we ate whatever grandma put on the table and we liked it.
Or…..when we wanted to talk to our friends we went into the kitchen and called them on the phone. That was attached to the wall. And if they weren’t home we called back. Because nobody had voice mail. And no, we couldn’t just text them.
Or….when we wanted to see a movie we took the bus to the theatre. If the movie we wanted to see was no longer playing? We were out of luck. Yes, there was only one theatre, not eight. No, Netflix was not a thing back then.
Or….when we had a research paper to write we had three options. Got to the library and look up the book on the little cards in the file drawers. Use the Encyclopedia Britannica that lined the walls of our dad’s study. Find a Time magazine in the magazine rack that had something relevant in it. Yes, that’s right. Books. Made of paper.
But then last weekend my daughter had the opportunity to dance in the West Vancouver Days celebration. As we drove down the hill towards Ambleside I remembered when I was nine and had participated in the May Day Parade. (The 1973 equivalent of West Van Days.). I found myself saying….. “when I was your age”. But this time it was different.
When I danced at Ambleside I wore a dress my mom had made for me. Apparently in 1973 pink eyelet, high collars and long sleeves leg-o-mutton sleeves were all the rage. I loved it!
When we performed our special May Day for the May Queen and her court we did it on the grass and not on a stage. The West Van Marching Band played our music and we had ribbons and everybody stopped and watched.
When the festivities were over we went for ice cream at Dairy Queen. (Yes, they had Dairy Queen back then). Granny let me have a root beer float.
Yes, thing are different and sometime the “when I was your age” story gives our kids some perspective. But it doesn’t have to be a “my life was harder than yours” kind of thing. It can be a “we are both so lucky” kind of thing.
Sometimes the Best Thing in Life is watching your kids have the same amazing experiences you had. Only different.