What Do Your Kids Have That You Didn’t Have?

Read my list, then tell me yours

I was going to watch a movie today called Prefontaine. I had the flick DVR’d. It tells the story of runner Steve Prefontaine from Oregon, an Olympic hopeful who died tragically at the age of 24 in a car accident after breaking numerous records, but before he got the chance to compete in the ’76 Olympics. I have no idea if the film is any good or not, because I got stuck on one of the opening lines. Steve’s dad is talking about life in the small Oregon town where he raised Steve, and he says, “We just tried to give him the life we never had.”

That’s a pretty heavy line if you think about it. “We just tried to give him the life we never had.” The problem is, I never thought about it. Now certainly all parents love to bitch about what their kids HAVE and what they DIDN’T have. That’s just human nature. [SIGNUP]

“School bus?! We WALKED to school. Five miles in the snow. With holes in our shoes if we were lucky to have them. Some of us didn’t even have legs.”

But I don’t know if I ever stopped, sat down, and plotted out a life for my kids that was gonna be better than what mine was. You’re just too busy DOING IT. And no way do I ever remember my parents scheming and planning how they were gonna make a better life for me. Hell, they never even talked to each other.

So I gave this some serious thought and here are the truly big things that I had growing up with my parents that I know they never had:

1. Television
2. A car
3. Air conditioning
4. A chance to go to college

My mom and dad never had any of that stuff when they were kids and they are all life-changing additions. Now the car I got on my own. They didn’t buy it for me. I paid $400 of my own cash for a ’66 white two-door Ford Galaxie 500. But the fact is, I had one by age 18 and they never had one, so I’m gonna count it. In some off-hand way, they probably had something to do with it.

Now of course there are thousands of little items, like Ellio’s Frozen Pizza (I used to eat it by the slab) and eight-track,s that didn’t exist for my folks, but I don’t think that’s what Prefontaine’s dad was talking about when he was referring to “a life.” He might not have been even talking about material things, he might have been talking about love. Love, however, doesn’t help when it’s a sweltering 99 degrees and your back is sticking to the bedsheets. Just give me the air conditioning.

Now, what do MY daughters have that I ever had? This is what I came up with. Remember, I’m not looking for little gadgets. It’s gotta be major.

1. A house with more than one bathroom
2. A computer
3. A cell phone
4. A house down the Shore

I find the cell phone most interesting because it keeps me in close, immediate contact with my kids which, believe me, is not a feature they like about it. And having more than one bathroom avoids contact you want nothing to do with.

So, ask yourself, what do YOUR kids have that YOU didn’t?