No Bandwidth for Family

Posted on September 17, 2020Comments Off on No Bandwidth for Family

We moved from the old house—the only house our big kids had ever known—to have a basement like the one we have now. There was more to it, obviously: The old neighborhood was transitioning from Family-Friendly Oasis to Fast-Paced Urban Hub. All the affordable and sensible improvements we could make to the structure of our old place would not touch its need for serious renovations, and no matter what we tried, we shared our old basement with millions of spiders. For all the charm of that 1948 building and the half-acre of land upon which it sat, we outgrew it.

In this new house, God gave us all the things my secret heart desired, and for which I was too afraid to ask Him. Our son still longs for the narrow wood slats instead of these hand-scraped, wide plank floors, saying they were better for racing his cars. Everything else is the definition of more than we could have asked or imagined: composite decking, granite, laundry upstairs (read: not in the basement with the spiders). What’s more, now Hubby has his basement! It’s spacious and full of sunlight.

We have made it into a space for our family to play, another thing that could never have happened in our old home. Deep pile carpeting spreads out over epoxy for bare feet. Couches, a recliner, air hockey, arcade-style basketball, foosball, and ping-pong are all stationed along the cement walls promising family fun.

One night, as two-thirds of the big kids were gaming, the baby was running into the hammock swing then Whoa-ing back, and Hubby and I were breathing hard with the table tennis paddles in our hands when the realization hit us: we can only stand to talk to each other with phones in our hands, listen to each other if we’re also ping-ponging, and be happy if the kids are allowed to game from the time they wake up till the time their heads hit the pillow at night. Our brains have a deficit of attention. We have to be distracted to stand each other, to stand ourselves. I’ve learned this is part of what happens with too much blue light and too much distraction, like tv (the true opiate of the masses).