Life is not a Lunchable.
If you have kids – or if you eat like a kid – you know about Lunchables. They’re Kraft’s answer to a parent-packed lunch. (This isn’t even a sponsored post, but if Kraft wants to send me a kickass Kraft Racing T-shirt or something, sweet.) They’re loaded with sodium-laced goodies.
Do-it-yourself cold pizza kits. Capri Sun drinks. Candy bars and cheese chunks.
No, life doesn’t often come with divided plates and countable crackers. Especially with kids. No matter how true your intentions, how crafted your plan, no parent can guarantee an idyllic memory in any given moment.
Kids will grump on Christmas. Steal each other’s Easter candy. A sister will hold another sister in a headlock during Independence Day fireworks.
What’s the lesson?
More kids, higher probability of unpredictability
You can rig Halloween for one child. Weigh Valentine’s candy to within a quarter of an ounce for equity. Let them binge on Lucky Charms on St. Patrick’s Day. Kids have ideas and tangents. As they age, kids’ wish lists grow more specific, iSpecific, specifically.
Allergies pop up at Easter and Thanksgiving sometimes ruins a three-day school week by cramming a kid in at the family dinner with 57 long-lost relatives that they might wish had stayed long lost.
And you know the science behind what happens when one kid’s sour attitude bounces off another …
There’s a point reality drop-kicks expectation
Why do we as parents treat every Peanuts holiday show like the Pope going on tour with One Direction? Because our parents treated every Peanuts holiday show like the Pope going on tour with Paul McCartney and Wings.
We envision holiday cheer and matching green shirts and whatever is ideal for Arbor Day.
What we sometimes get is a Christmas head cold or St. Patrick’s Day parades that ban the actual throwing of candy, or we forget Arbor Day completely. The question becomes, how do we receive this reality? Openly or defiantly? Somewhere in between?
Speaking from the standpoint of a grownup who had to be a kid first, the energy and attitude and actions my parents chose when shit when wrong defined how I would want (or not) want to give off for energy and attitude and actions now that I’m a parent, too.
And honestly – now that I’ve done it? It gives me a bit more appreciation for how tough my parents must have had it, too.
The value of ‘in the moment’
In the moment talk has quickly approached what you can expect around her in terms of pizza talk. It’s already surpassed starry-eyed Jennifer Lawrence talk. (She’s so young.) My kids constantly provide moments to reinforce the urgency of staying in the moment.
It’s why it’s 9:43 a.m., and I’m still writing the post I should have written for Monday.
Because there are kids who need help to saw a chunk of wood for a Pinterest project. Or one who offers to make you a milkshake. Or one whose boyfriend is in town for the weekend and they could probably use a chaperone.
The moment holds a lot more promise than the confines of my plans.
Know when your kid leaves a mess around the house?
Crayons here. Cut up paper there. They leave the paint open and string out for the cats to eat and spray your car’s finish with silly string on a 95-degree July Carolina day.
But the moment? That’s where they are. I can see the oldest begin to slip out of the moment as she worries about college and life and grades and life after high school. It’s going to be a good one for her. I just know it. For her sisters, too.
Just, the moment, and whatever it might hold. It sometimes isn’t pretty. It holds, though, a lot more promise than the confines of my plans.
Who knows? I might even end up grabbing a Lunchable today.