Bad mother buys daughter a laptop

Butterfly imageNot everyone wants the latest and the greatest. I dare say many of us would like to put a hold on technology; would be happy to think that our computers and phones have arrived to their fullest magnificence and won’t ever need to be replaced.

My daughter loves her old laptop. It used to be mine, then my son’s, and finally hers. It gets incredibly hot within minutes, but she claims it warms up her bed and she likes it that way. A few keys don’t work—including the critical Command key—but she gets around it somehow. When sparks started flying out of her charger, threatening to burn the house down, I warned her that the days were numbered on that thing. She bought a cheap replacement charger online, but then came another problem: the screen went wiggy—there are red lines through everything—and there are no cheap fixes for a wiggy screen. No matter, she says; she is using it for homework, not watching videos.

But her birthday was around the corner. Surely, I thought, a new laptop should be the big ticket item. This is a no-brainer and a necessity, given all her college-level classes. I strategically wrapped up an artsy little chatska for her to open first. It read, “If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” After unwrapping it, she asked if “Anon” meant “Anonymous,” and seemed somewhat happy. Then she opened her big present.

“I didn’t want a laptop,” she reminded me. “Yes,” I responded, “I know what you really wanted is a bunny rabbit, but you don’t need a bunny, you need a laptop.”

I’m not the kind of parent that strives to get everything on my kids’ wish lists for their birthdays. I’d rather prepare them for real life. But I’ve never been this far off. Fortunately, her brother bought her a Snuggie, which is almost as cozy as a bunny rabbit. She quickly took it out of its box, put it on, and wore it for hours even though the weather is still warm.

But the laptop remains in its box. I’m hoping today will be the day that she starts it up. I’m hoping she is so impressed with its speed and clarity, that she considers realigning her loyalties—and letting loose the butterflies.

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