Wrapping Up The Gift of Time In A Media Package

gilmore girls year in the life netflix screenshotDec. 7, 2016 Update: We had our collegiate buddy binge-fest with the Gilmore Girls ‘Year in the Life” Netflix Revival this Thanksgiving, so for those mother-daughter pairs who can’t get enough of the fast-talking dynamic duo, I’m reprising our hands-on experiential “B&B Inn” themed getaway of wrapping up the gift of time together…

We shared it well, so it’s coming back again this year for our own getaway reprise (Shhhh! Don’t tell her, she doesn’t read this blog) as it’s time to create new “wild” memories in the next phase of our lives as she’s about to transition OUT of college into career so very soon.

For fandom folks who want Gilmore Girls merchandise to wrap under the tree, we both were in “you’ve got to be kidding me” mode seeing the productization this series inspired, like this clever candle that burns down in layers with the completion of each of the four new episodes. Yup, that’s right, the ultimate media/marketing mashup…A binge-watching burner! Just when you thought they’d marketed EVERYthing. My vote of course, remains the gift of time…It’s precious and fleeting.

Jan. 29, 2016: Just texted my ‘Gilmore Girl’ (now in college) that Netflix is reviving Gilmore Girls the series for at least a 4-parter! Re-reading this post is like a time capsule of cherished tween years. Savor them, parents…they fly right by. Whoosh. Book that Innkeeper room now and unplug to reconnect, using media moments as bonding time. 


How do you wrap up a winter break, gal pal getaway?


Original Post Dec. 2007-Middle School Years:

Other than Billabong surfer tees to memorialize our dog Billabong’s recent departure, my daughter asked for very little for Christmas. She’s negilmore-girls.jpgver been a ‘stuff’ kind of gal, preferring a ‘go-see-do’ experience hands-down. So? This year I decided to give her the gift of undivided attention…

No blogging, no multitasking, no partial attention deficit, no job stress (besides, we all know stress fuels disease) In fact, I didn’t even turn the computer on.

I thought data would say kids’ wishlists reflect the desire for “more parent time.” Wrong. It’s about parents ditching their stress from work-related deadlines and their frenetic pace/overload so they can be emotionally available.

The present of being present…

Hmn…not surprising, actually. We all want that, don’t we? The NYTimes conveyed parents are spending just as much time if not MORE time with their kids as they did 40 years ago, but that same parental plate is heaped high with new obligations and ‘shoulds’ too…

According to this Live Science article, one in three employees in the U.S. feels chronically overworked…apparently with good cause, for time spent at the office has jumped 10 hours a week over the last 3 decades! Needless to say, the endless/overwork churn goes for stay-at-home parents and nonprofit media mavens too…ahem.

i-love-lucy.jpgSometimes it feels like Ethel & Lucy sorting ping pong balls on a conveyor belt in an old I Love Lucy rerun, doesn’t it?

Work just keeps rolling in, as the belt speeds up, multiplying balls faster and faster and piling higher and higher until mayhem breaks loose!

I can attest to the fact that time-shifting my own workload into the wee hours so I can ‘always be there as a mom’ makes me a cranky curmudgeon sometimes, but I justify the lifestyle trade-off as ‘temporary’…(it’s a luxury being an ‘only’ since BOTH parents are in the bleachers at her sporting events MOST of the time, regardless…) Still, my bedraggled dark circles must be starting to show…

She’s USED to my intensity and passionista ways, (being a deadline-driven serial entrepreneur) but lately she’s made a few comments about being worried I’m “running on empty” so…um…that’s not good.

gg-coffee-mug.jpgIf this smacks of a New Years resolution in the making, you’re right…

Some of my favorite bloggers have curbed quantity/output for mini-sabbaticals and family time, so this Christmas heralded my start…I splurged on a ‘mom-n-me’ media moment as my gift to her, mirrored after her favorite show, The Gilmore Girls.

I made a vow not to touch my laptop, ordered the TV theme song for our road trip driving music (Carole King’s “Where you lead I will follow”) and chose to “get the heck outta Dodge.” Neither one of us were wild about coming back…

I wrapped up the ‘gift of time’ with a Gilmore Girls tee under the tree, and a savings certificate to BedandBreakfast.com, so we surfed online together to find a magical little place called the Candlelight Inn that Lorelai and Rory would have willingly sanctioned.

Nestled in a little redwood grove in Napa, the English tudor began the same year my mom was born, so that was a pleasant decision-maker/tie-breaker for an added bonus…

fluffy.jpgWe were met in the entryway by a fat cat named Fluffy, (that’s her at left) and cozily snuggled into our ‘girl time’ in peace, quiet, and foggy, rainy drizzle…

I couldn’t have WRITTEN a better script. (though she was admittedly bummed that the Calistoga mud baths have a ‘no kids under 16’ limit due to the heat factor because she wanted to feel the ishy squishy mud)

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been ‘awol’…Readers and Skype pals who have pinged me sans reply can cease the ‘resends’ on e-mails and stop fretting…gosh, I guess I should’ve ‘told you’ like the other bloggers do when they’re going to be away…sorry, I’m new to this ‘posting notice’ netiquette…and a bit of a free spirit/wild hair/don’t fence me in type to boot.

unplugged.jpgYes, it’s rare that I’m offline and unresponsive, but I’m avid about it being equally important to “Unplug Your Kids” and tap into the gifts that surround us. (highly recommend browsing through the ‘Unplugged’ blog, btw, some good stuff! Here’s a related post on our own blog, as well as one on media kids’ nature deficit disorder)

Anyway, if you’re looking for some ‘teen time’ to reconnect and get real, I highly recommend leaving the nest…anywhere…camping, hiking, spa-la-la whatever, just a change in the environs.

candlelight-inn.jpgIn fact, she’d tapped into awareness of some intricate details I’d never imagined, voicing insights about me, my passion projects, Shaping Youth, even noticing little Inn details and appreciation of our environs…It really warmed my heart, especially since she’s not always forthcoming, and tends to keep things pretty close to the vest.

It’s similar to my experience at Thanksgiving at our ‘what are you thankful for’ roundtable, where she surprised me by not taking the easy Miss America answer of a standardized ‘friends and family’ response, and instead emoted:

“I’m thankful for the people dedicated to making a difference in the world…and I’m even more thankful that I’m sharing the table with one of them.” Whoa…

That’s a mama moment for sure, she comes across as tolerant but ‘roll of the eyes perplexed’ by my passion for Shaping Youth endeavors, so that one was a keeper. (wish I could count on a mental rewind to playblack that little episode when she’s 16 and hates me for not giving her the car keys)

We lingered at the Inn even past checkout, took a jacuzzi and even played ‘truth or dare’ to unearth some preteen angst and build some newfound trust through some random shared thoughts…I even told Wendy, the Innkeeper we may have a new annual tradition.

brunch.jpgMedia-wise, over breakfast, she ‘named’ the Inn staff based on who reminded her of whom (Sookie the gourmet chef, Michele the concierge, etc.) and at first I thought she was taking our ‘theme’ too far and projecting through the eyes of a TV show, until I quickly realized it was her own wry wit…She was pulling my chain, poking at my media literacy hot buttons…(as her dad would say, “little seeds of humor” sigh…)

And though I hear beauty duty is becoming quite the ‘trendy’ teen spa’ bit, I tend to favor our home-style hedonism to downplay pricey appearance-based cues. (this CSM article about 13-year olds getting facials explains) So how do we ‘pseudo-spa?’

tuberosethumbnail1.jpgEssentially, we create our own el cheapo variations…We open the dishwasher in the final steam cycle for a ‘facial’ and dip our mitts in a paraffin wax ‘bath’ that I bought on sale at Sears when I broke my fingers last year and was too cheap to pay for ‘proper’ physical therapy past the first session..

We also leverage all the senses, like a single sniff of tuberose (spas would call it ‘aromatherapy’) to transport us back to my home turf in Hawaii and relive fun times. As a preteen athlete with growing pains, the gift of time blends nicely with the gift of touch, as we’ve always had a mini-tradition where I soothe her with a home massage (she has yet to return THAT favor, but she’s getting older, there’s hope!)

That tradition started way back when she was a preschooler and her Tutu (Hawaiian for grandma) would trace letters with her finger on her back and she’d have to guess the coded message to learn the alphabet with tactile cues.

All in all, a pretty special gift for us both that we’ll remember long beyond a ‘Hollister’ sweatshirt, or other ‘tween scene’ brandwashing…(especially since I counted it as my own bday gift to myself this week too!)

So what were YOUR most well-received holiday gifts this season?

What did you feel great about giving…or particularly thankful for receiving?

(C’mon now, no ‘Miss America answers,’ ok?)

Meanwhile, here’s to a bountiful year of Shaping Youth, with special wishes for TIME well spent with the various kids in your lives…especially the one within you!

Happy New Year! Peace, joy, and good times to you and yours…

Related Resources

Families and Work Institute (nonprofit research org)

Kids to Parents: Leave The Stress At Work by Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience/AP

Bless This Mess: (Chicago Sun-Times) Parents Let Housework Go To Spend More Time

Parent’s Time Investment Into Children: Univ. of Calgary, Public Policy Research Lab

Australian Associated Press: Kids Want Time With Parents, Not Gifts

New York Times: Married & Single Parents Spending More Time With Children

Top Ten Wishes For Working Parents: Monster Career Center BlogSymptoms of Burnout/Signs of Stress (see above) MSNBC

Kids & Commercialism/New American Dream

Changing Rhythms of American Family Life (Univ. of Maryland study published by the Russell Sage Foundation and the American Sociological Association)

Visual Credits: All Candlelight Inn photos & Warner Brothers’ Gilmore Girls photos from their respective sites. I Love Lucy TV visual from The Cinema Source




  1. What a great post and what a great idea. Really hit home here.

    Our daughters should get together. Mine gave me a Barbie doll. It was the most I’ve laughed all Christmas season.

    Happy New Year to you too!

  2. Oh, Lisa…a Barbie doll? For YOU?! That is SOOOOO hilarious… and she’s younger than mine, yes? Ah, we must never underestimate the sardonic wit and wisdom of kids, eh? Too funny.

  3. Olivia Mitchell says

    Have you read the fairy tale Princess Bubble? I think that is a great message for girls but would love to know your thoughts!

  4. Olivia, I’ll check it out and be back atcha soon…thanks for the referral…hadn’t seen it! Looks intriguing…

  5. Thank you for the kind comment on my blog, it made my day! And also for the very nice link I see on your blog. I am happy to have discovered you!

    It sounds like you and your daughter had a great time unplugging, de-stressing and enjoying each other’s company. I am also grateful to have had a quiet, unchristmaslike Christmas this year.

    I think that a quiet Christmas (and also my daughter’s gift of a homemade bracelet created from a loose ribbon that the cats had torn off a Christmas ornament, that my daughter found and strung with jingle bells) was my best gift this year. A stress-free holiday was probably the best gift that I gave too.

    Happy 2008 to you and your family!

  6. Amy, this is the best post. My girls are far away now… and I only get to talk to them on the phone. I did spend a whole afternoon with one of them, who is in driving distance. The other, in CO (I’m in NY) was a phone call. I miss’em. Hold’em close while you can. And that goes for sons, too. My son lives here, but I try to give him a hug once a week — when I can catch him. At 25, he thinks he’s too big for hugs!

  7. Yvonne, Thanks for the sage reminder…I keep telling myself that her days of thinking she’ll ‘live next door forever’ are soon to be a bygone phenom…as evidenced by her peer tribe and the usual ‘plan-shifting’ for a better offer, so I’m learning to ‘pre-slate’ my requisite gal pal time as the teen years creep forward…

    p.s. Never too big for hugs! My 29 & 25 year old nephews are big lugs that live for same, and I hope they always will…the world could use more of ’em…Remember the true story/viral video, ‘The Free Hugs Campaign’ about Juan Mann w/music by the Sick Puppies? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4

    I always love that one…I send it whenever I’m in need of one as an ongoing reminder we’re all interconnected. ESPECIALLY with older folks, who need the gift of touch and often don’t get much of it! Hmn…you’ve got me thinking of interesting generational pairings now…Might make a great viral video/youth PSA concept…

    And ‘Mom Unplugged’ your ENTIRE BLOG has me tethered to my dog leash rather than my mouse to remind myself to get outside and exercise the bod as much as the brain cells!!! Soooooooo much fresher when I take the time to get into nature in some capacity daily…

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