Perspective

photo via Disney

photo via Disney

Last night we let the girls watch The Queen of Katwe. Have you seen it? It's a beautiful story about a girl in Uganda who lives a life of poverty in a slum, but is given hope in her future through her masterful ability to play the game of chess. 

We are living an average middle class American life in one of the most affluent cities in the world. Our children use phrases like "should we Uber or Lyft?" (probably Lyft, given Uber's current PR snafu), and "daddy, make sure you get the brown eggs that are 'organic farm fresh'" (anyone else see the specials on standard eggs and make the same switch??), and "Mommy, I have a tummy ache, can we get some chia seed juice?" Bottom line: we live in a bubble of beautiful views, weird tech lingo and attempts at nutritious lifestyle, while also shamefully paying $5 for a scoop of (incredible) insta-hyped ice cream in a cone. Welcome to San Francisco, friends. 

We are raising children who live in this bubble, children who have not yet seen the world, and it's something I wish I could show them firsthand, but it's not yet the right time.

Before having children, I felt in my heart that someday I would be bringing my five-year-old to African villages and teaching them about life and struggle and hope through people who lived it and are living it. I would definitely be cultivating a desire and passion in my future children by physically taking them on trips to do what we can help all people. Twelve years later, I have not even returned to Africa or Haiti on my own, let alone with our entire family.

Good intentions only go so far, so we show them the Queen of Katwe to give a glimpse into a child's life that is so different from their own.

The struggle for Brian and me, as I'm certain can be relatable for many middle-class-American families is: how do we create a childhood for our children that is full of beautiful moments and memories, giving them everything we can to become set for success and smiles... while simultaneously teaching them to CARE for the world as much as they care for themselves. To care for people, care about stories of others- whether good or bad- to care that there are motherless children and with a monthly allowance, we actually have the privilege of helping those children? To teach them that the world does not actually revolve around them-- and that them complaining of wanting Indian takeout rather than the Thai takeout is the epitome of ungratefulness?

Well. 

After watching the Queen of Katwe with our children to teach them perspective, it is me who learned the lesson... AGAIN. The lessons I so badly want to teach my children begin with me. I wake more mornings than I'd like to admit, groaning about peeling my sleepy self out of my soft covers when my beautiful healthy toddler yells "mama up?, daddy up? mama? mama?" Bleary eyed, I walk to his room and pick him up. My dear son has all his needs filled and his health intact. He knows his next meal will come at the right time and that he has clean water or milk at his disposal. If I think beyond my sleepiness, I am beyond grateful to God for all of these things we have been given. 

Should this not be sufficient in giving me a heart full of overflowing thankfulness and wanting to give back to others? How then do I find myself becoming a bear when I realize that I have run out of coffee filters and need to walk three blocks with three children to the coffee shop to purchase a cup without blinking at the price until I can replace said filters? 

There you have it. An attitude of ungratefulness in me is something that is passed down without ever noticing. A chat about how thankful I am for coffee at all is the better option, and it was my reality today, after my dose of perspective last night.

Tomorrow I will undoubtedly forget again... and the tomorrows after that, I will forget again. My children will notice and do the same.

But some days I will remember to cultivate hearts of thankfulness and teach our children to care for others right in front of us, and around the world. And some days I will teach the right things at the right times. 

And I pray that's what sticks.

xx

Prynt Love

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There is a lot of technology out there for pictures: photo book apps, print apps, etc., but none of them has been quite as simple for me as the Prynt case and app. I've thought to myself so many times about how I should really go and make a quick photo book using one of the photo book apps with pictures from this or that trip, or memory. It just isn't as easy as pressing a PRINT icon and having my photo just come right out from my Prynt case in the comfort of a chair in my living room...

I got my first Prynt case last Mother's Day and it was a gift I kept using and using... but I upgraded my phone last fall and never ordered the adaptor for my new phone, so it sat unused for months. Prynt offered to send the new version to me, and I happily accepted. I've missed the ability to print photos and tape them to the wall and keep them updated around the house!! 

The app is user-friendly in every way. It's become even simpler to use this time around-- just plug your phone into the case, turn it on and open the Prynt application, and take a picture + a video (you can edit the picture in the app if you want! I find that I like to make mine extra bright because they print in slightly darker, more saturated colors), then hit the Prynt icon and your picture come right out of the machine. I LOVE IT. I've used the prints in the cutest spread over the girls' dresser in their room... just got some washi tape and taped them right up there. The girls love having their friends' faces and good memories to see every day. 

Last year, I made a video to show how to use the Prynt case specifically, so if you're interested in some extra info on it, click HERE to see my post. ;) 

Prynts are perfect for end-of-year cards or small memory books for teachers (the simplest and VERY meaningful gift!!), for recaps of vacations this summer, and for every-day entertainment. My kids literally hover around the Prynt to watch the magic after taking a picture, which is so much like the good ol' days. 

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Brian was kind enough to take a pic from behind the scenes. Here's what we crazies look like when I take a shot of them by a random wall in the city. Mostly they're dancing and Jack is looking like "my sisters are crazy but I love it anyway." 

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They crack me up so much!! The verbals were: me, "wait for it, wait for it, wait for it... voila!!" and them: "let me see, let me see!!" and Jack making noise and waving his hands because he can tell they're excited and he wants to get in on everyyyything. 

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One last thing: do you see the key at the bottom right of the images? THAT, my friends, is a video. Using the Prynt App, you can scan the pictures and see the cute little videos behind them! This works best if you want to send a little card over to a friend-- record a video of your kiddos telling their friends happy birthday or hello, we miss you!, and have the ability for them to watch the message from their app! So cute!

And there you have it! So much fun in one little machine. Makes me so happy to have all the fun back in my hands ready for summer break... Thanks so much Prynt! xoxo

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Maybe they won't need therapy?

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Last week, Brian found an old blog post that I wrote on a family blog when I used to do that sort of thing. He told the girls to listen as he read something he found that day... and when he had finished, we had two little girls beaming in pride. 

"Who wrote that???" they said, "Is that about us?"

He told them it was their mommy that wrote it, and they looked at me with wide eyes and smiles, then Sophie said "Ohh Jack, when you're a big boy, I think mommy will probably write something like that about YOU too!" Both girls hugged me tightly and kissed me and told me they loved it.

The writing was nothing phenomenal or special, and I had no idea that their hearts would be so full from something so simple. I've been writing during their naps and bedtimes since they were born-- some years more than others-- and I realize that they have had no idea, really. They have seen me with a computer occasionally typing, but I just say "girls, I have a little work to do while you play," and they don't really ask questions about it. 

I have often wondered if children of bloggers will need some special kind of therapy when they are grown. We are the first generation of parents inclined to create sites to remember the small details of our children's lives. Kids have SO much time in front of cameras, and parents like me share musings about their childhood on websites... It has made me cautious about how much I share (frankly, not much), and how many pictures I take (frankly, way too many).

I've had moments of mom-guilt while typing (and subsequently deleting) blog posts reflecting on the small and big details of days I thought were special. "These moments don't need to be typed. They were just enjoyed and let that be enough," I tell myself. Less is more, right? People must think I'm the chronic over-sharer. Ugh, I should stop writing. I should simply step away and be vague and skip the sharing-the-heart posting. Maybe "they" are right. 

But there is something inside of me that wants to keep writing. Something that tells me that maybe- just maybe- my children will be... dare I say... thankful  rather than resentful? Thankful for the reflections, thankful for the words? Maybe they will actually appreciate that I share the memories, and their mama's perspective while living those moments. Maybe when they are living similar moments in their future, they will find my words a comfort. Maybe they will understand how deeply I love them through the words typed on a screen.

So I will write. I will write for me, and I will write for them. Here or there, in the quieter spaces where no one else reads, I can write my heart.

xo