This Time With Appreciation

Steve Fisher7. prosince 2012 • 06:00

I just received an interesting link from my wife via Skype, which is how she and I communicate with each other at home these days while she's sitting in the living room with her laptop and I'm at my PC in our bedroom.

It's also the way we communicate with our children now when they are in their room at their laptops with their door closed. We Skype them a message: "Go brush your teeth!" – which is, in fact, easier and more effective than screaming "GO BRUSH YOUR TEETH!!!" across the apartment.


It's less disturbing to the neighbors, too.


Previously in this column, I've written that I "hate" the Internet, but that's not true really. I was just trying to be funny, and it's usually funnier to talk about thing you hate than about things you like, unless what you like is picking your nose or farting.


The truth is, I love the Internet. I have occasionally even made love with the Internet, but that's another story. I enjoy looking at Facebook and finding out what my family and friends around the world are thinking, doing, reading, watching and listening to. It's like a never-ending visit with people that you can drift in and out of at your leisure. The coffee and cookies are good too. I make them myself.


My kids love the Internet, too, of course.  They play amazing games on-line with their friends and teleconference with all of them simultaneously via Skype. When I was a child, we played with toy guns and wooden swords. My children play with Nvidia's sixth generation of GeForce graphic processing units with PureVideoSLI technology, and Shader Model 3.0 support.


What can I say? I envy them. I hope I always will. Readers of this column know that I've also made fun of how hard it is to be a parent. But that was bullshit, too.


Unless you have daughters. Then it's hell, or so I've heard.


I don't know much about girls. I only had brothers, and I went to an all-boys school. Now, I have two sons, so I can only imagine what it's like to raise a girl based on what I've heard from other parents who have one.


It's often hard for me to hear those parents, however, because their voices are usually a bit strained from constant shouting. They seem to smoke and drink a lot, too, which doesn't help the vocal chords either. To my ear, the mother is usually the more hoarse.


From these parents, I've heard stories of petulance, obstinacy, raging fits of anger, intentional cruelty and emotional blackmail. When they've finished talking about their marriages, I ask them about their daughters. 


"Oh, you mean my demon child?" is a typical response. "My female spawn of Satan?"


At this point, I usually respond, "Hasn't the weather been terrible lately?" I'm afraid to hear these stories, because I'm a sensitive person. Being a parent is such a wonderful thing. And nothing sucks more than something that's wonderful when it isn't. Unfortunately that seems to happen a lot.


Near my home, there's a café that I go to regularly. A friendly waitress there often sits down at my table with me to talk, and she always laughs when I tell her about the story that I'm writing that week.  The other day she asked me, "How do you stay so positive? So funny? So happy?"


I told her that sometimes I imagine that I'm an old man, at the end of my life, about to die, and suddenly I have the chance to go back in time and be the age that I am now, to have it all back – my wife, my children, my friends, my life in Prague – and be able to do it all over again! And this time, appreciating every single moment of it.


When I finished telling her that, I saw that she was crying. A few years ago, she lost her husband in a car accident and now lives alone with her young daughter. She has a great relationship with her daughter, who comes to the café every day after school to hang out with her. She misses her husband, though. She'd really like to go back in time, but even further back than just to today.


"I'm sorry I made you cry," I said. "I guess I'm not doing a very goob job of being funny today."


"I'm just thinking about what you said," she told me. "I feel lucky to know you."


What's more obvious to me is that I'm lucky to know her. Before I finished this story, I gave it to her to read, and she laughed a lot at the part about the hoarse mother.


And, now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to attach this story to a Skype message and send it to my wife to read. Then, I'm going to get up out of my chair and go to the living room to give her a kiss and go to my kids' room to give them both a hug.


Because I know that I'll never have another chance to appreciate everything that I have right now.

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