Today, I felt like one of those moms. You know the ones. They stand up at the PTA meeting or at Little Gym about how little Johnny isn’t being treated fairly and therefore everything must change and other kids must be deprived. “My Johnny isn’t allowed to have soda so no other children should be permitted to have soda.”
Yep, I was kind of like one of those moms. See how you would feel.
I got a notice that my community was hosting an Easter egg hunt on a Saturday at 11am. As is typical for a weekend, I’m struggling to get out of my pajamas and get there in one piece by 11am. I re-read the email about the event:
Easter Egg Hunt
When: Saturday March 27
Where: Pool House
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Find the Golden eggs and receive a special prize!
– Parent Supervision Required
– Children will be separated into 3 age groups during registration (11-11:15am)
– Limited Parking at the pool house
– Residents ONLY
– Each child should bring a basket
So I assume that the egg hunt starts at 11:15am. I arrive at 11:05am to see plenty of parents and children arriving while hordes of other children are already collecting the limited supply of eggs. I’m thinking these must be the little, little kids that they wanted to go first. Nope. It’s two groups of kids in two separate areas scouring for all the eggs. I walk to one of the areas that’s just been discovered and jumped in just in time to “help” my 3 year old find two plastic eggs.
I am pissed off. I’m furious. I’m saying things like “this is ridiculous.” My son asks me, “Mommy, what’s ridiculous?” Don’t worry about it. I can tell I’m not the only confused parent but I seem to be the only truly annoyed one. That could be because masking my emotions is not one of my strong suits.
I’m not going to make a big deal. I’m not going to be that mom. I’m not going to complain about the community volunteers who spent their time organizing the event for the children. Even when they clearly did a poor job. But I am going to do something about the look of disappointment on my young son’s face.
At his request, we spend a few minutes at the community playground since we are already there. I’m watching him try to have a good time while the mobs of wild kids run up and down and on and off. I hear kids shouting at each other “LOSER” and “BABY”. I’m reminded of how mean kids can be.
He’s standing at the top of the twisty slide looking down at me, saying “Mommy, I’m waiting my turn but no one will let me go.” Do I tell him to just push everyone out of the way like the other kids? No, I can’t always be there to make sure he gets his turn but today I feel like a lioness. “HEY,” I shout to the kids. “There’s a line up there and it’s HIS turn.” Yes, I know. Kids will be kids. But this is my little cub.
Finally, he says “Mommy, let’s just go home.” Not a moment too soon. At this point, it’s 11:25am, only 20 minutes after we arrived. I can’t bear to listen anymore to the mother who keeps yelling at her son, “If you think I’m gonna stand around here all day while you play, you better think again.” God forbid you should take 20 minutes out of your day to engage in a little outdoor playtime with your child.
We went home. My little cub was a holy terror all day. Maybe it was the Easter egg hunt. Maybe not. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the disappointment he must have felt. I promised him another egg hunt. And egg hunt he got. My husband and neighbors got in on the action. We filled about 40 eggs in my backyard. Then we unleashed two children to find them all.
The pictures were worth more than a thousand words.
I think it’s time to put a playground in my backyard too. This lioness will defend her cub as long as she can (or as long as he’ll let me).