momlife, parenting, Traditions

Happy 4th of July, Kinda

Ah, the Fourth of July.  We celebrate our freedom. We eat hot dogs and hamburgers and watch fireworks displays. If we’re lucky, some of us go to the beach or the lake or a pool, and we visit with our friends and family and neighbors, and we soak up what it means to be an American.

Unless you’re a certain brand of mother, who lives in a certain kind of neighborhood , who has kids with certain expectations.

Okay, so let’s get more specific- if you’re me.

The Fourth of July has been my favorite holiday FOREVER. It’s also my only favorite uncle’s birthday, so every year my family would gather at our house for a barbeque, and since he’s my favorite uncle, I’d always make a special 4th of July themed dessert to go alongside the cake my mom made.  We’d hang out, and around six o’clock, we’d head to the local middle school where we’d sit on the field with what felt like the whole town, eating Rice Krispie treats and chocolate chip cookies, waving our glow sticks and throwing a Frisbee as the sun went down. We’d beg for snow cones from the cart until my mom eventually caved, and we stood in lines to use the portapotties, because of course we had refused forgot to go before we left the house. Then we’d cue up our radio to the station playing music specially synchronized with the show (country music, of course, because NORCAL), and settle into our camping chairs to watch the fireworks while eating salty popcorn and drinking homemade sweet tea. It was glorious, and hella American. I mean, who wouldn’t love the 4th of July?!?

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And then I grew up, and it hit me like a Roman Candle. You know who probably didn’t love the 4th of July? My mother.

Reread that paragraph up there, and you’ll see her hard work in every line. She cooked and coordinated dinner for the entire extended family.  She baked cookies and Rice Krispie treats and a birthday cake. She not only packed but schlepped those treats, along with popcorn and a thermos of sweet tea, AND camping chairs, frisbies, glowsticks, blankets, and a radio. She didn’t forget any of those things, ever. Never mind that my dad worked nights back then, so it was always just her doing all that work, on her own. And me? I had no effing concept.

Until now. Until I’m the keeper of the whole shebang. It literally takes me a full week to prep for this freaking holiday. Like, I’m not kidding, I’ve been baking cookies since Saturday. I’ve been to three different stores, each on more than one occasion, and have made list after list.  I’ve shucked corn and made Mac N Cheese in advance and baked a thousand other treats and didn’t forget the glowsticks or anything else, I think, although to be honest the holiday is just beginning and there’s still lots of time to realize all the things I forgot to do.

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So here’s to the moms baking like madwomen, and schlepping camping chairs all over the world, and working their asses off in boiling hot houses while their husbands drink beer and man the DaddyQ. Here’s to the mamas that are organizing block parties, or decorating bikes for the parade, or buying last minute sparklers that they thought they remembered but actually forgot. And, also, here’s to the moms kicking back and drinking a beer. Because let’s face it, you’re doing this thing right. I could learn a thing or two from you.

And yeah, so maybe it’s not my favorite holiday these days.  Maybe none of them get to be my favorite holiday anymore. But my kids, man.  My kids are going to be living it up today. And if I work my ass off today, and next year, and the year after that, the 4th of July could become a thing of legend for them, too, just like my mom made it for me.  I get to be the baker, the keeper of the popcorn, and the maker of traditions.  And maybe, with the help of my kiddos’ sweet smiles and 17 a couple of drinks, I can find a way to make it a pretty damn good day for myself, too.  

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Cheapskating, Kids' Activities, momlife, parenting

Those “Cheap” Summer Movies

Let’s talk about those cheap summer movies for a minute.
On the one hand, you’ve got the glory of being the cool mom for a second. You took your kids to the movies! It’s air conditioned! The kids are happy, they’re enthralled, they’re living the dream. This experience was MADE for little kids, so you don’t have to worry if they’re wiggly, or chatty, or if they shout/sing along with the chorus to the movie’s theme song. Because there is a concert of 50 other lispy little voices telling Poppy to get back up again, too. Kids are dancing, kids are laughing boisterously, moms are sneak-opening cans of cherry coke (I’m looking at you, Christine) and relaxing back into their soft, squishy chairs for what almost passes as a break.
But. BUT.
Those concessions, y’all. You pay $1 for the movie, and $16.50 for one ounce of popcorn. This has got to be the whole point of the $1 movie experience from the theater’s perspective, cause you know they have to be making a profit somewhere, and it ain’t from my pocket change.
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Now, if you have somehow managed to make it into the movies without your kids knowing the concession stand exists, or they are content with your smuggled in snacks, or your kids are just so lovely they take no for an answer, we salute you. We applaud you. We envy you.

If someone (I’m looking at you, Daddy) has ruined the movies forever with a kids’ snack pack that has been upgraded to include an Icee AND a full size candy? We are so sorry. We feel you. We are here for you.

So when you get to the front of the concession line, because you’re gonna get them SOMETHING , because AVOIDING TANTRUMS, don’t try to ask for a large Icee split into three cups, because I’m here to tell you, they won’t do it.

Order a large Icee and three water cups, hold the water. Then get to work, mama. You’ve got a movie to see and that Icee ain’t gonna split itself.