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From the Homefront: Childhood's persisting trends

Tiffany Gee Lewis
Tiffany Gee Lewis
Seth Lewis

It was chaos in the back seat of our van the other day.

"Jinx!" the kids shouted at each other. "Unjinx! Jinx!"

Jinx? I couldn't believe it. Really, truly, that has persisted all these years? Incredible.

I was jinxing and unjinxing my siblings 25 years ago.

We got home, and I headed to the kitchen to make dinner. A moment later, my middle son was at my side, weeping. I thought perhaps the world had ended.

"Mom," he sobbed, "Jackson is REPEATING after me!"

I had to stifle a laugh. Oh, to discover that tormenting siblings has not become any more creative than it was in my day.

I've always been fascinated by trends and how things begin. I can just see Cain and Abel sitting under a tree. Abel knocks Cain's foot. "Don't touch me!" Cain says.

"Don't touch me," Abel parrots back.

"MOM!" Cain cries, running to find Eve. "Abel is repeating after me!" And there it begins.

They say that life is cyclical, and I really do see this in my kids. The same jokes. The same tormenting. The same attitude I flung at my parents. I thought things were supposed to improve with each passing generation.

At least the clothes, right? I was rifling through some bins of winter gear the other day and came across one of those puffy jacket vests that are all the rage these days. Only this vest is a hand-me-down from my younger brother. It's a two-toned relic from 20 years ago. I see high school kids wearing tights and leg warmers (leg warmers!) and can't understand why they think this is a good idea. Some fashion trends were better left stuck in their own decade.

Vintage is the buzz word of today. I've been swept up in it like everyone else. I have stacks of vintage sheets ready to be turned into vintage … something or other.

Oh, the future is nice, but we love to cling to those objects from the past. My dad, when we were young, worked for Fisher-Price toys, and I always thought it would be brilliant for the toy company to bring back some of its classic toys. It turns out they thought so, too, because I saw a whole line of "vintage Fisher-Price" toys at the store the other day. I had to sit on my hands to keep from buying the whole lot.

Life as a child was two parts magical and one part heartbreaking. To see my children play out their own young lives, watching from the sidelines, I feel the reverse. I love observing the kids as they discover the joys of reading, learning, riding a bike, making friends and preparing for baptism. Then I see the fighting, the teasing, the disappointment, the caring too much what others think.

Oh please, please, I want to tell them. Don't be like me. Please be so much better.

But keep up those knock-knock jokes. And when you come to me all haughty-like and ask, "Hey, Mom, what came first, the chicken or the egg?" don't be surprised if I know the answer.

Yes, moms know nearly everything. It's simply because nothing has changed. We've seen it all before.

Tiffany Gee Lewis writes about the life of a stay-at-home mother in her column "From the Homefront," which appears on on Tuesdays.

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