Work in progress. . ….
I have been a full participant in every area of my kid’s life. You name the volunteer task and I have done it—cheerfully. In fact, I think my arm pain is directly related to how fast and how furiously I have raised my hand to volunteer. So please don’t think of me as a slacker when I tell you I HATED BEING SNACK MOM AND I HATED DOING POTLUCKS. I have my reasons.
It all started innocently enough. Cole sports career started when he was four. The team mom passed out a list for parents to sign up to bring snacks. I signed up—how hard could it be, right?
Wrong. The first e-mail arrived, reminding me to make sure my snacks are healthy, and to take allergies into consideration. This e-mail was followed by one from another mother, who sent out an article about kids needing the proper balance of fluids to stay hydrated during a game. Then there was another message from yet another mother reminding us about the dangerous of red dye. And then a dad chimed in suggesting we make a list of “appropriate” snacks.
At this point I was hyperventilating. Joe was of no help, as he remembered back to the days when you just grabbed a bat and headed over to the sandlot without a parent running after you with a water bottle and orange slices. My sweet mother said, “Take Twinkies. All kids love Twinkies.” My sweet mom was never wrong…until this time. My snack day arrived and I took Twinkies and juice boxes. All kids love Twinkies and juice boxes.
But not the kids’ parents. An e-mail followed, expressing disappointed at the sugar-laden snack served at the game. And fast-forward 12 years: Some kid just performed poorly on his SAT and his mom is blaming me and that damn Twinkie (Jk, I think). A second e-mail arrived, suggesting water over juice boxes and reminding us to put name tags on water bottles so pesky germs aren’t passed around. (How could I have forgotten about those pesky germs?)
I began to hate snack day. Joe said, “Forget about them.” (Men are so clueless.)
And then there was baseball, where the coach decided to let the kids vote on the snack that parents would bring after each game. When it was Cole’s turn, they voted for pizza. Pizza as a snack for 8 year olds? Really? I was too insecure to say no; I ordered $60 worth of pizza from the place across from the baseball field and picked it up. However, the snack mom after me had no problem telling the kids Subway sandwiches weren’t in the budget and weren’t going to happen. I rolled my eyes and told Joe, “She is so cheap.” Joe told me to take her picture and paste it on the bathroom mirror and make her my role model for frugality.
Now I hated snack day…and Joe.
My angst associated with forgetting about snack day sparked terrible nightmares. I would dream of sad, forlorn waifs looking up and me and saying, “You forgot our snack.” Frantically, I would look around, spot an ice cream truck and lead my parade of waifs toward it while mothers held up signs and chanted, “Red dye in popsicles! Red dye in popsicles!” and Joe yelled, “It’s too expensive! Let them go without!” Awake or asleep, being snack mom was hell.
Potlucks were much the same way for me—decidedly unlucky. For example, I unwittingly took a turkey breast to the vegan home that was hosting a potluck. (What can I tell you? I was asked to bring a main entrée, and I didn’t know we were all going to be vegans for the evening.) Cole sat his backpack on my Mexican dip when I was asked to bring an appetizer, and my chocolate cake, which I’d repackaged to look homemade, melted when Joe told me he’d brought it in from the car but unfortunately, he mistook the cooler of beer for my chocolate cake. It can happen.
Finally, four years ago, I came up with a solution to this bad fortune: I became the beverage mom. When asked to contribute to a potluck now, I bring a cooler filled with real Coke, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Orange Crush. This has worked for me ever since. The kids love me, and the sugar-free parents glare but are long past being able to monitor their teens’ soft drink intake. I’m a little passive aggressive; it works for me.
Can I repeat, This works for me? This is what I told my mom when she was insisting I should take more than soft drinks to the potluck.
“It will be FUN,” she said.
She said I could make my delicious deviled eggs. “Everyone loves deviled eggs.” (And, lest we forget, everyone loves Twinkies. Unfortunately, deviled eggs are easier to come by these days.)
“NO! It will set a precedent. If they actually make it to the table and I don’t poison anyone, someone will ask me to make them again. I just know it.”
My mom then said, “Well, okay.”
“FINE. I am making the deviled eggs! But I’m putting a sign on them: ‘Eat at your own risk, and never ask me to make them again. Cooler with soft drinks is on the porch. Cheers.’”
Before someone says it: I don’t miss being snack mom, and I won’t miss potlucks. Besides, I don’t think potlucks ever run out.
Tomorrow, I’ll post an update and answer your questions: Did the eggs make it to the Potluck? How did she transport 84 deviled eggs (I forgot one egg makes 2 deviled eggs–we should have enough), Who found the hair in their egg and won the prize? Was anyone poisoned?
Odd Loves Company!