A few months ago, two other mothers and I took our daughters to the bowling alley. The girls have been friends since preschool, the Moms enjoy spending time together, and we often go out as a group on weekends.
Although all three are in fourth grade, they now attend different schools. One girl brought her homework assignment along, thinking it would be fun to complete together. “I have to write down a healthy food for each letter of the alphabet,” she explained. The other two quickly jumped in. Apples! Bananas! Cereal! (That one is debatable.) Just as the Blogging from A to Z Challenge has sparked our creativity beyond the average ABCs, this list became the highlight of their day…over the crash of bowling pins and greasy pizza.
I can’t remember their choices for every letter, but I do recall being astonished at how varied their vocab was, and their favoring the exotic over the everyday (tilapia over tater tots). And did I even know what kale was at ten years old? Had kale even been discovered yet?
Then we got to Q. The girls made a real effort. (No, Kumquat starts with K. But has a Q in it. Nice try!) So we moms gave them some gentle hints (Quince won out over Quinoa, as it was easier to pronounce and spell) and we rested back on our laurels.
Until… X. Between the three of us moms, we had 6 college degrees combined and a collective 130 years’ life experience. But could any of us think of a freakin’ food that began with X?
I think one of us may have come up with xanthan gum. Not exactly a food.
The girls were determined. They needed to complete this quest. Bowling was abandoned. The pizza grew cold on its plate. X! We need an X!
Being the only female present in possession of a smartphone, I pushed a few buttons and announced to the group, “Xigua. It’s a Chinese type of watermelon.” Relief, elation! Everyone could sleep that night.
Funny that this post comes on the heels of my singing the praises of a digital sabbatical. But seriously, what did we do before the Internet? I received my Masters in Library Science right before the 90s ‘Net boom, so I know how to research old-school with the best of them. It would have taken me a bit longer than three seconds, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to do it in the middle of a bowling alley!
I tried to impress upon the girls how much more difficult and time-consuming research was before we had the internet at our fingertips, but they were, in the end, unimpressed.
I’m pretty sure this is the equivalent of our parents telling us they had to walk barefoot to school, ten miles in the snow, uphill both ways…