I live in so-called "Sunny" Florida, which it is during the winter, but in the summer it should be called "Stormy" Florida. Every afternoon, without fail, we get huge thunderstorms. I am not talking about a little rain, I mean torrential rains, 60 mph winds, lightning, hail, crashes of thunder that send the kids running under the bed, and storms that knock the power out on a daily basis. I grew up here and remember being eight years old when I caught on that summer storms were a part of where we live. The power would go out and my brothers, sister and I would build forts out of sheets and play flashlight tag. We would tell ghost stories and games like charades. If it was night time my parents would light candles and we would all sit together in one room and tell funny stories.
Fast forward 30 years and when the power goes off it is completely different. It never really dawned on me how different times really are until this past week. The storms have really been bad this past week so when the first one hit I went ahead and got a little prepared. I don’t have the long thin candles like my parents used to use, but I have a few of the store-bought scented candles that come in a jar and went ahead and lit those. I figured with or without power at least my house would smell good! With one big bolt of lightening the power quickly went off and I waited for the screaming to begin from the little ones who are afraid of the dark. You know what I heard….nothing. Where were my screaming children who are supposed to be afraid of the dark???? I walked down the dark hallway to the stairs and all most broke my neck tripping over a lego that I didn’t see sitting on one of the steps. I stumble the rest of the way to find my children calmly sitting upstairs. I don’t think they even knew the power was out. My teenagers were playing with their cell phones which have screens that light up. The other four kids were watching a dvd on the computer which just switched to battery power when the power went out.
What happened to the good old days of the power going out and us having nothing to do? Sometimes I think with so much technology that keeps us busy even when the power goes out, that our kids are missing a fun part of childhood. Yesterday when the storms came and the power went out, I was prepared. I made them turn off all the cell phones and computers and sit downstairs with me. After a minute of hearing how unfair that was and that I was an uncool mom, I got them to play a game of charades. An hour later the power came back on and my 10 year old hopped up and switched the lights back off and said, "let’s pretend like they still aren’t working." We left the lights off and played games, laughed and told stories for two more hours. Technology may give us a way to always have light even when the power is out, but I hope my kids remember that when the power is off, the best sort of light comes from just being together and from within.