Posted in books, family, television

Embracing the telly + “We Never Asked for Wings” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

tvloveAccording to everything written about parenting, I fail.

Because I let my family (myself included) watch way too much television. And I’ve decided to embrace it, rather than fighting the fight or feeling the guilt.

Amoung our friends and fellow parents, it seems like everyone is getting rid of some part of television watching. Their ‘cutting the cable cord,’ they all say, with pride in their voices. ‘Our kids are watching too much, and we need to cut down the screen time.’

Yes, they are extremely smug, these self-satisfied t.v. separatists. They’re the families that do things together; things like ‘play games’ and ‘cook together,’ like family sing a-longs and jam seasons.

Actually, they aren’t really smug, and they don’t make me feel any worse than my insecurities allow them to make me feel. They’re doing what they think is best for their families, and that makes me feel kind of bad for my choices. Because I don’t think television is better for my family, it just works for us. And we enjoy it.

And we do a lot of those family activities. Other than family sing a-longs (which are relegated to their rightful place — in the car) and jam seasons (air instruments only), we do a lot of family activities. We just do most of them with the television on.

Also, my girls get quite a bit of exercise. Swimming, lacrosse, and just out and out playing. We go-go-go a lot outside of the home.

So, when we are home, we do watch too much television. We relax and chill, usually with the television on.

Still, the guilt has gotten to me in the past, because I have and do use it as a babysitter.  Television is really the only thing that keeps Katy, my  younger daughter with Down syndrome, busy sometimes. We do play outside, we go for walks, we read. But sometimes I put her in front of the screen. Bad mom, I know. Katy, though, demands attention if she isn’t distracted. And there are times I need her to be distracted so I can focus on my task.

Another thing: we like television. We have certain shows we love to watch, and we watch a lot of reruns. And Discovery Channel, which makes us sound smart, but Naked and Afraid and World’s Deadliest Catch are not necessarily the smartest shows on Discovery.

We have been debating, for about the last year, about ‘cutting the cord.’ We’ve looked at various ways to do this (because, as I said, we watch a lot of reruns), but it seems like, in the end, it would cost the same. We would use other services to get the shows we do love, and our internet cost would go up without cable. In other words, we’re probably not going to watch less t.v., we’ll just watch it in different ways.

So I’m giving up the guilt. There are TONS of things to feel guilty about in this life, and the fact that I LOVE television isn’t going to be one of them any longer. I’m going to embrace the idiot box. And the Netflix (that we already pay for). And the Amazon Fire Sticks and TVs that we own. And the three cable boxes we have in various places (all way too close together to be warranted). And the six televisions we have in our four bedroom, two stories house with a full basement — which is a nice size but not large enough to warrant two t.v.s on each floor.

No more guilt. I LOVE television, and I get excited about the new shows ever fall (scarves, sweaters, football, and new network shows!)I get excited about which shows are coming back (or are not), and I love that the new trend in streaming subscription services involves innovative ways to present new series that might be too edgy or pigeon-holed for networks.

All this means that there will be no cutting of the cord here. I’m keeping the cord attached, at least until there is a viable alternative, because I love television. So go ahead, condescend away.

We are who we are. And we’re t.v. people.

But we also read like crazy (except my husband, the dyslexic non-reader). To that end, here’s We Never Asked for Wings.

Love, family, and illegal immigration all converge in We Never Asked for Wings, telling a poignant tale about a family growing up and finding their feet together.

The Premise

Letty Espinosa stepped aside for 14 years, allowing her mother and father raise her two children while she worked three jobs to support the family. But, after her parents suddenly return to their native Mexico, Letty is left to raise 15 year old Alex and 6 year old Luna on her own.

Unsure of her instincts and abilities, Letty must step up to the task none-the-less. She makes the move to the other side of town in order to get Alex, a brilliant student, into the better school, and starts to make an attempt to change her life. And it seems to be working, at least at first.

When Alex takes the initiative to get his girlfriend into the better school, he cuts corners that shouldn’t be cut. When both are caught, Alex’s life spins  in the wrong direction, but, with help from Alex’s biological father and Letty’s new boyfriend, Letty just may be able to right this ship and become the mother she’s meant to be.

My Thoughts

We Never Asked for Wings is a beautiful story of family love, if a little predictable. The familial and maternal love shines through, and the climatic points are exciting and interesting, filled with realistic, well-researched details and story lines. The characters are complex, if not too deep, and intriguing.

I give this book 3.5 stars. Enjoyable and though-provoking — always a good combination.



I love to read; writing is my outlet. My blog is my way to combine the two, with a some life stories thrown in for good measure.

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