Sara Whitman

Apples to Apples

Filed By Sara Whitman | April 25, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: New England

Vacation is winding down. Jeanine made it up to Ogunquit and played a rousing game of Apples to Apples with the kids. It was hysterical. I highly recommend it for family game night.

The hot dog taste test is waiting for a shipment of white hots from Rochester. We will test Pearl's, Nathan's, Hebrew National, Ballpark and Zeigler's white hots. Grilled versus steamed. Blindfolded. I will report when we've ranked and scored the dogs.

Tomorrow the kids spring baseball season officially begins, although I've been carting them to practice a few times a week already for a while.

The sun is out. It is sometimes, a wonder here in New England when the sun comes out.

I'm reading a book, Three Dog Life, by Abigail Thomas. Her husband ends up brain damaged after going out for a walk one night- hit by a car. Never the same again. He only lives in the moment. She learns to live in a moment, too. I love this part:

When I was young, the future was where all the good stuff was kept, the party clothes, the pretty china, the family silver, the grown-up jobs. The future was a land of its own, and we couldn't wait to get there. Not that youth wasn't great, but it came with disadvantages; I remember the feeling I was missing something really good that was going on somewhere else, somewhere I wasn't. I remember feeling life passing me by. I remember impatience. I don't feel that way now. If something interesting is going on somewhere else, good, thank god, I hope nobody calls me. Sometimes it's all I can do to brush my teeth, toothpaste is just too stimulating.

The future was also the place where the bad stuff waited in ambush. My children were embarking on their futures in fragile vessels, and I trembled. I wanted to remove obstacles, smooth their way, I wanted to change their childhoods. I needed to be right all the time, I wanted them to listen to me, learn from my mistakes, and save themselves a lot of grief. Well, now I know I can control my tongue, my temper, and my appetites, but that's it. I have no effect on weather, traffic, or luck. I can't make good things happen. I can't keep anybody safe. I can't influence the future and I can't fix up the past.

What a relief.

I can't make the world a better place overnight. I can't keep kids from suffering so much they kill themselves. I can't stop the bullies- as a few have commented on my piece at Huffington Post, bullying is as American as apple pie. I can't bring those boys back to life.

I want to remove all the obstacles for not only my kids, but all kids. I don't want anyone to ever have to go through what I did.

I know that's not possible.

There is much I can do, and I will. I don't feel disheartened at all... I feel more at peace. As Thomas writes, "What a relief." I'm finding a way to give myself permission just to be. Do the best I can, move molehills instead of mountains.

And play Apples to Apples with my kids, my wife, and laugh out loud.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

tobyhannabill | April 26, 2009 3:10 PM

In a class I took this semester at Luzerne County Community College we played "Apples to Apples". As a 49 year old returning college student I found the game to be very insightful especially when played across different ages and cultures. I am thrilled that you mentioned this game in your column. I too recommend it.