Last Laugh (Sept. 2011)

I woke up the other day with a desire to really connect with my offspring. I was going to prove to my children once and for all what a wonderful mom I truly am. OK, the truth of the matter was that I read an article the night before about how important it is to intentionally, rather than accidentally, connect with your kids. The article emphasized that it was important to deliberately carve out time, in spite of hectic schedules, to make moments to enjoy with the family. I always thought that I was supposed to enjoy moments with them as they happened … wrong answer.

According to this author, the real way to develop deep relationships with your brood is to go into your backyard and dig a fire pit together, purposely engaging your kids in a hands-on activity. I guess nothing says let’s make memories like cheap child labor. Hmmm … perhaps I am wrong, but I do believe that setting my little monsters loose in the back yard armed with shovels would create deep scars, not relationships.

Anyhow, always open to new ideas, I decided to give this train of thought a whirl. Of course digging up my grass was not an option, but surely a smart and resourceful woman like myself could come up with a good plan. And so the idea of taking my children and their two friends to the local water park, which even had an 18-hole miniature golf course, was born.

This making-moments-and-memories thing is not easy. I had to really plan. There were inclement weather conditions to consider, bags of water toys, towels, sunscreen and forbidden snacks to pack. Oh, and don’t forget the need to map out the best way to get there with the least number of turns possible so as to not upset the stomach of our carsick-prone guest. Fortunately, we made it there without having to use the paper goody bags that I brought along just in case.

We found the perfect spot to park our things. I gave them all a short lecture on how important it was to use the buddy system and then set them loose. I went about making some fabulous memories of my own, basking in the glorious sun. Of course my mommy guilt got the best of me and I eventually left my beautiful solitude and set off to make some of those darn moments with the kids.

Well, I am happy to report that I did make moments. I am sure many of the other park visitors will be talking for days about the crazy red-headed lady screaming at her kids.

Oh yes, ladies and gentleman, I became “that mom.” You know the one I am talking about. That mom, who griped and grumbled all the way to the snack shack because her law abiding son threatened to turn her in to the lifeguards if she took out the food she smuggled in for us to eat. That mom, the one who lost it when she saw her youngest born feeding her $50 french fries to the birds because “They need to eat too mommy!” And that mom, the one who actually shouted at her kids, “I don’t care if it is a gazillion degrees out, you will play miniature golf and you will have fun doing it!”

Yes, I made moments all right. I will forever remember the looks on the faces of the horrified trio in front of us, who seriously by the way thought they were playing on the PGA Tour, when I threw the yellow golf ball into the water because the bickering over whose it was got to be too much. I do believe it was at that point that my son said to his sister, “After all these years I think we finally did it. We broke her!” To which my darling daughter responded back, “Nah … she ain’t broke. She’s just cranky and tired!”

I am not sure which bothered me most – her use of the word “ain’t” or the fact that my 8-year-old is on to me! Either way … I ain’t “Making Memories” anymore!

Sharon Fuentes is a mom and writer. Read her blog at www.blog.mamasturnnow.com