I love my NPR. In the car, it’s pretty much solid NPR all day long, unless it’s Car Talk or one of the guest-oriented programs has someone on that I’m just not into.
But NPR creates conflictsâ€”namely, that all of my kids consider themselves, as conversationalists, way, way, WAY more interesting than even the most fascinating NPR story. And so should I, right? They will only be young enough to want to share with me, for a 25 minute drive, their vision of what our house would look like as a farm, with illustrations, for a little while.
I try to at least not acknowledge that I’m only half-listening. I do want them to talk. I’m glad that they talk. I enjoy it all in the abstract and in the idea and in the retelling. I’m just not good at enjoying it in the moment.
This morning, though, I brought Lily to a birthday party half-an-hour away (the perils of country living), and she felt chatty. And happy. And Lily is so often singing her complaining song that a happy Lily is something to be seized and subtly rewarded with as much love and attention and affection as I can pour on, in the hope that she will finally conclude that it’s better for her and for everyone else if she manages to moderate her fierce storms of misery when things don’t go her way.
(Unfortunately, personal experience suggests she’s got about another thirty-plus years of learning to go before that idea takes hold.)
And NPR? NPR was offering a story of runaway teens on the streets of Hollywood. Interesting? Oh yes. But what is a story like that for, if not to remind you to seize the moment with your own sons and daughters? What else can you possibly do?
I turned off the radio.