Thursday, January 30, 2014

What Sports Cars and Physics Can Teach Our Families

Photo credit: Maciek, Creative Commons, cc
Sizzling Latino music rumbas through a sunny south-facing living room. Creamy light bounces dazzlingly off white sculpted snow drifts outside to dribble across red pillows and dented couch cushions inside. Wind-carved ledges hang off the roof, drape the deck, and swoop grandly through our yard. Swing-set chains disappear unexpectedly into snow drifts, the seats hidden below.
Photo credit: Carl Wycoff, Creative Commons, cc
My teen age daughter swipes long side bangs off her face, clipping them back, as we calculate physics at the table. Acceleration is calculated by subtracting the initial velocity from the final velocity, divided by time. We lean closer to read the problem about a sports car that speeds from zero to 60 miles an hour in 3 seconds, and I notice how tall she is, my lanky daughter. Fifteen years old looks good on her. We groan despondently at the subject, but grudgingly fill in the equation. Velocity flies by going east for the sports car, and into the future for this woman beside me.

How do you nurture and build memories with your kids on a daily basis? In between dishes, laundry, and physics problems, we sculpt our days at blinding speeds. Dentist trips, part-time jobs, and family activities carve swaths through our weeks, and I don't want it to erode away.

We laughed as we punched numbers in the calculator about initial and final velocity, my daughter and I. It wasn't the math-filled science. We found humor in odd places, and giggled together. Stopping to hug between subjects, we grabbed her notebooks and sprawled across my bed to read her math lecture together. All too soon, the talk of fully simplifying algebraic fractions trailed off, and she disappeared downstairs.

Walking back into the main rooms, a To-Do list spirals long in my mind, toys scatter my floor, and dirty dishes lean hazardously on my counter.

"Mom, play Uno with me?" my petite five year old asks softly. Shiny red Spiderman decals curl off his shirt. Tiny shoulders wait expectantly.

Snow spirals glitteringly away out the window behind him, as the wind swipes more of it. An afternoon sun slants shadows long across my carpet, climbing further up the red pillows.

He waits still, eyeing the black cards on the floor.

"Sure, bud, let's play some Uno."

And the snow drifts high on my deck, resisting the wind.


Dolly@Soulstops said...

What a gift that you can laugh and study with your daughter and chose to play Uno with your son...beautiful :)

Brian Miller said...

a lot of our memories come in little touches...we play games together as a youngest and i play a star wars app together on his ipod...even doing homework...they realize you will be there....

Floyd said...

And the memories that fuel the next generation are born... in love. They will tell the story of their child's grandma... the stories, the laughs, the crying, but mostly the love... as our Father designed it before the foundations of the universe for those who trust in Him, like you do... like they will...

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thank you, Dolly. I savor that too.

Have a lovely week, friend.


Jennifer Dougan said...


Those moments seem small but they add up to be monumental, huh? Star wars app, huh? My son would love that!

Thanks for stopping in,
Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...


Passing down the stories... I like that. :)


Cheryl Barker said...

Jennifer, you're wise to look for those moments to build memories and savor moments. They indeed go by much too quickly!

By the way, wanted to check with you -- did you receive the issue of Life Notes I emailed earlier this week? Just want to make sure you got your copy. Have a great rest of the week!