Today I will be brave and expose some of the so-called “Perfect Parents” in my little neighborhood for the true slackers they are. I do not know how severe the reaction back could be even though I will not use names or expose any identities. If I wake in the morning and find my recycling bins knocked over, Dr. Seuss books burning on my lawn and sugar laden pastries sliming my windows, I will know who is responsible.
During April vacation desperation drove me to overcome my natural hostility towards humans and I reached out to other parents for (shudder) play-dates. By doing this I got to see the other side of some of the parents around my area that I am afraid of or feel lesser than. See, after school every day, unless it is raining or snowing, all the children in the Collins Cove area gather at the park to play. This means all the parents must congregate and try to attempt socializing whether they want to or not. I have watched many a parent come over to the picnic table dressed nicely, hair brushed, no eye ticks, hell, they even seem to have moisturized! They usually plop down bottled water and a bag of fruit, or perhaps a nice organic snack that I cannot even recognize. They discuss the PTO and how everything needs to be greener. They sneer at my processed fruit bars and juice bottles. They cast disparaging glances at me as I smoke and give me horrified sighs when I holler at the top of my lungs at my kids. Their children are perfect. Somehow if their kids wave around stick they are being imaginative and if mine do it they are aggressive.
Well, this vacation week I let my daughter try to find playmates in her usual polite, reasonable way. As Melissa and her scooter sped down each street, she was a blur running up stair cases hitting bells, yelling into window and peering into yards, I just sort of staggered behind with an apology ready on my lips. Melissa found many of her friends and I found that their parents were generally unprepared for company. It was wonderful to see other parents in my usual disheveled state! One house Melissa went to, the father came staggering to the door in a bathrobe, hair standing on end, clutching a cup of coffee, eyes wild and just said to me, “Yes, take her with you to the park, please!” When I asked when he wanted her back by, he just stared at me blankly then shut the door.
Another house Melissa invaded, we were actually invited inside and it was so clean and lovely that I wanted to take off my shoes, put on an apron and ask ,”where would like me to start working, Miss”. As soon as the two kids ran off to play with toys, the parent flew out the back door, huddled behind their docked boat and lit a cigarette. Puffing quickly, I was asked to be a look out. While I was at this perfect home, I observed this parent crouching to smoke, sneaking hidden chocolate and whisper three swear words. Someday, I know I will see this person in headlines. Oh yes.
The next morning my daughter went up and down the neighborhood yelling about a picnic, setting off most of the kids and when I saw most of the parents’ faces I sensed that most of them were not wishing me a happy day. After about twenty minutes or so several parents staggered, resigned over to the park picnic area. Most of them were clutching grocery bags and I noticed that the bounty was not their usual organic fare. I saw boxes of crackers, Oreo cookies, fruit juice, cans of soda and a bag of generic chips. The mothers muttered something about the kids having a good picnic then they gathered themselves under a tree in a circle. I knew I had been slighted but didn’t care too much, especially after I figured out that the reason they were huddled together was to hide their “special” big thermos of “tea”. When I had walked over to ask a question of one of the mothers I almost got drunk just off of her breath. Grinning, I enjoyed the children’s picnic.
Within the few days of vacation I saw through the masks and facades to the human underneath and it was wonderful for me. Two of the popular PTO moms were discovered smoking some pot in the very shiny new SUV, several parents were smokers in hiding, some drinkers and one parent actually ran outside barefoot, fists waving in the air, yelling, “So help me God, Jordan, I will rip off your arms and beat you with them, if you hit your brother one more time!”
Tonight, I will give my children chicken nuggets, french fries and yogurt for dinner without any guilt whatsoever. In fact, I will serve them on paper plates!