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.