Monday, November 28, 2011

Unplugging... The Old Fashioned Way

Written by Ellen

Unplugging in our home happens on the weekends. 
During the week, our family of five uses the computer quite liberally. My husband, a software engineer, works from home (yay!) Many of my sons’ assignments are on-line programs and my daughter’s reading program is from a website. 
The workweek requires a fast internet connection and enough computers (we have two) to service all five of us. It can be tough to get everyone the time he or she needs. 
On the weekends, rather than work, life happens. 

Our favorite way to unplug involves connecting with our good friends, and happily, new neighbors. We moved to our current home last May and quickly struck up a strong friendship with our “back door” neighbors. 

They have three boys, all close to my children’s ages. Each child pairs up with his or her playmate, or they mix it up. They love to play together, bike to school together, and seek each other out at home or at school.
In fact, our home has become their home, and vice versa, and the children (and often times myself!) will run over for a quick chat (or a cup of sugar).
We adults discovered that we all play bridge. This happy coincidence meant extra playtime for the kids and more together time for the adults. It’s a win-win. 
Since my main way of unplugging on the weekends is to prepare for the week ahead (in the kitchen), it is easy and rewarding to prepare a delicious home-cooked meal for my friends. If I say I’ll do a soup and muffins, they will always show up with wine. It’s that kind of friendship. 
After the kids munch homemade pizza for dinner, we adults settle in to our yummy meal, followed by as many hands of bridge as we can squeeze in. We are only interrupted if the kids need help, which is seldom, since they play so well together.
In fact, we are often treated to a run-by costume parade as the children, deep in their imaginary world, fly by us in search of something. Their made up games take them inside, outside and even into the garage. There is much laughter.
Sometimes we will put a movie on for them and they snuggle up together, wrapped in blankets and surrounded by stuffed animals. We adults continue to deal and bid, play and laugh, drink wine, and enjoy each other.
It is the highlight of our week, and something we try hard to do often. 
This ritual of ours hearkens back to the afternoons I remember from my childhood. Happily reading, nestled in a window seat next to shelves and shelves of books, I remember the clinking of ice in scotch glasses and the snapping of cards - my grandmother’s bridge games. 
My husband remembers it too, from his own childhood. His youth was filled with bridge (for his parents) and playtime with neighbor kids (for him). 
We both cherish the sounds, smells and rituals of our weekly reconnection with our friends. It refreshes and restores us, and reminds us to breathe, and to live. 
Have you found an unplugged moment that takes you back to your childhood? 
Do you think “unplugging” helps us find the moments we have in common with our parents and grandparents?  

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