So much has changed since my summers as a kid, when we’d take off for friends’ houses, roam the neighborhood ‘til dark, tackle summer read-a-thons… and stare in fascination at the new Pong game one of them had hooked up the TV (lucky ducks!).
After marrying a farmer single father and becoming an insta-mom of four, I’ve been learning fast (and flailing a lot). Forget the days of Pong—I’ve tried to come up with a million creative ways to combat the siren call of the kids’ screen time. Because if it isn’t social media (my kids are tweens and teens) or games on the iPad or phone, or texting or face-timing, it’s something. Most recently, time-lapse and slo-mo videos of everything from the dog catching ice cubes to basketball in the driveway, which they replay, edit and pore over in the evenings, laughing.
New to this mom role, I’m not great at crafts. I’m not especially gifted with coming up with new games. But after being asked a hundred times to “Hey, Tosca, watch this!” I know they love time together and when I am witness to their fun.
Yesterday, on our first hot day in the 80s as my husband planted soybeans, we unpacked the 18’ triple Slip’n Slide. Living on a farm twenty minutes from town or the nearest swimming pool, we tend to make our own fun in the back yard, whether it’s epic games of football (balls thrown off the barn roof are considered in play!) or hide’n seek that has often resulted in one kid going missing for an hour at a time and the discovery of a raccoon in the shed. This time, I picked up my phone and stationed myself right at the end of the runway.
I didn’t realize I was in the splash zone until it was too late. (Did I mention I’m new at this?) This, of course, they loved.
I shot still photos, time-lapse and slow-mo video as water flew and a football joined the fray and I got nearly as soaking wet as they.
It was the longest I had heard all three brothers go without arguing in weeks as they slipped around, splashed, and gave me camera direction. “Hey, get this!” they’d shout, and catch a football while skidding by.
They laughed and giggled for an hour—a sound I love and heard too seldom through the cold months of winter. More importantly, they were having fun as brothers, enjoying the weather, and loved that I was watching them in their fun—while recording it for posterity (and for them to send to friends later, of course).
They came in later sopping wet, recounting epic slides like war stories, ready to watch footage. They had a grand afternoon and nearly just as much fun reviewing and commenting on the video and pictures, and I had memories for my next video or print album.
Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of THE PROGENY, FIRSTBORN, ISCARIOT, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, DEMON: A MEMOIR, HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (FORBIDDEN, MORTAL, SOVEREIGN). A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.
You can find Tosca at ToscaLee.com, on social media, or hanging around the snack table.