Few things strike more fear in my heart than those two little words: Spring Break. Combine them with another other loathsome word– playdate– and you’ve got my definition of something really undesireable. And because I hate travel more than arriving at Costco after closing time, we had no plans to leave the city limits during Spring Break, which meant I had to come up with something local.
Lucky for me, aliens took over my email account and sent out a message to the preschool moms I knew who were sticking close by. “Hey, wanna have a playdate next Thursday during Spring Break?” Good Lord, those Aliens made me look well-adjusted enough to initiate a playdate. With other mothers from preschool.
At first, I panicked. Do I need decorations? A theme? Can the theme be SURVIVAL of spring break? Then, the Aliens returned to slap my face, and to tell me to take it down a notch. “Suggest something you like to do,” they said.
Great idea, Aliens, I like to eat and sit on my ass. So they sent the follow-up email: “Let’s meet at that cute diner on the east side for lunch and invade the park across the street.”
There was nothing left to do but show up for the playdate “I” planned. Because these activities were taking place in the ritzier section, far away from my beloved bodegas and Costco, I felt the need to dress up. Ballet flats. A necklace. Lip gloss. Deodorant. The freaking works, People.
Lunch went well. I’ll note here that the four other children ordered chocolate chip pancakes. My kid? A side order of each of the following: cottage cheese, bacon, fruit. You can’t teach that kind of nutrition. She was just born with that, guys, so I’m not bragging. Just reporting.
Once at the park, I found myself a seat on a bench in the sunshine and kept a close-but-not-helicopter-y eye on my kid. I did hover when she started swinging upside down because the last thing I wanted to see were those side dishes coming up out of the hole in her face.
This is going so well– everyone’s playing so nicely and I made this all happen. Had I possessed the extra physical reserves, I might have literally patted myself on the back.
I noticed that the park patrons didn’t look like the patrons at my park– those brave souls who come looking for the syringes and doobies they accidentally dropped. These people didn’t drop crap contaminated with STDs. But man they could have taken out a small nation with a mis-swoop of those Louis Vuitons. Where are they going after this? A three-week trip overseas?
I’ve seen pictures of gigantic designer bags (and the women who carry them) but I’ve never seen any up close. I sort of thought they were mythical. (NOTE: I also thought allergic reactions to food were imaginary, until my kid swelled up like my Grandma’s buttermilk biscuits after eating some humus.)
And while I don’t judge (oh, hell yes I do, and so do you, just admit it), I have to admit that once I got past the accessories that cost more than my annual Costco bills, they acted like regular moms. I wanted to be all hate-y because they looked so wealthy and their hair was so damn silky, but really? At the end of the day, we are all just trying to keep our kids from puking up cottage cheese and bacon, right?
But I still prefer my local park, where I get the opportunity to answer questions from my kids about what gang graffiti means (Peace on Earth, of course) and what the used condoms are (rare land jellyfish).
There’s no place like home.