“You can’t see the forest for the trees” completely sums up parenting for me. You read books, you obsess over balanced meals and proper bedtimes, you try and watch your (fucking) language, and yet, somehow you miss gigantic weird things you’re doing.
I realized one gigantic weird thing I’ve been doing when I took Emerson and August to Los Angeles with me. (Buck wanted to stay in school. Seriously, what’s up with that?)
I realized my children don’t know how to live in the year 2016. I’ve been so focused on giving them this simple, old fashioned childhood that I’ve neglected to teach them the realities of modern life.
For example —
How to get on an escalator. Nope. They didn’t get this one. How do you step on something that’s constantly moving? Laura Ingalls would have been baffled and so were my kids.
How to press a button in an elevator. I’m not kidding. We narrowly avoided the alarm going off in the elevator because August was centimeters away from pressing “the button with the fire hat on it.”
Valet parking. This one really stumped them. Why do you hand a stranger your keys to park your car? And where does the stranger take your car? I didn’t really have the answer to this one because frankly, it is an odd ritual.
Plastic surgery. There are billboards all over Los Angeles for plastic surgery. Basically, the ads say, “Hate yourself? Call us!” Emerson asked me what plastic surgery was and I went the route of if you’ve been in an accident, doctors can help make you a new nose, etc… The other kind of plastic surgery? Do I really need to explain how nutters adults can be?
The Kardashians. I gave a nice homeschool lesson on Andy Warhol and his theory that everyone is famous for fifteen minutes. Is there any other explanation to the Kardashians than that?
Emerson and August’s favorite part of the trip? I took them on a hike and they spent hours sliding down a hillside. You know, like country folk do.
Finally, as we sat in a nice restaurant in Beverly Hills, a waiter approached Emerson and asked if she was finished with her meal. She said she was and then politely asked, “Can I have a box? I’d like to take the rest of my food home for the goats.” The waiter forced a confused smile and I thought… We need to go home. Maybe they can learn these modern things in college.
So we traveled hundreds of miles and hundreds of years back North, to our little place in the forest, where none of us can see a thing because of all those trees…