The Patron Saint of Parents...More Thoughts on Party Bags.

>> Friday, May 18, 2007

Do I really hate party bags? Not really. It would be insane to hate a ‘bag’. Besides, how could I hate the intention of a party bag which is to make a child happy?

Tonight I’m thinking about the Blue Pill Parents. My heart is breaking. No parent has ever been perfect or was ever 100% right. Putting a pill-shaped toy in a goody bag was not a smart move. But I’m sure it wasn’t their intention to harm anyone.

Oftentimes, pure luck is all that saves parents from disaster. I don’t know much about Catholicism, but there must be a Patron Saint of Parents, some saint who watches over us and saves the little ones from our endless mistakes. There are a million accidental ways to kill our children everyday. It’s a miracle we don’t lose more of them.

I think of the Blue Pill Parents finding out how many children are in the class and calculating how much they can spend on gadgets for the class party. I see them going to the supply store and walking down the aisles, looking for small presents; trying to decide what style of goody bags their son would like. Should it be the Elmo bag? The Sesame Street bag? Or maybe something more generic...something with balloons on it, perhaps.

They walk further down the aisle trying to decide what gifts to purchase. Pencils, stickers, little plastic sunglasses. But wait...there’s a brightly-colored package of tiny plastic capsules. “Just soak them in water and watch these magnificent bugs magically appear!” Cool, they think. That’ll be fun. Their son is fascinated with bugs and all creepy crawly creatures. He’ll love it. And it’s affordable, too.

On their little boy’s special day, each parent makes arrangements to leave work early in order to sing happy birthday to him along with his classmates. Yay! What a happy smile beams across his face when he sees his parents walk through the door. They are overjoyed by each other’s presence. Mommy and Daddy come loaded with goody bags. His classmates can’t wait to get their hands on them. They’re happy it’s his birthday. He feels so special.

The parents sit next to him; put their arms around him; give him a kiss. Everyone sings and he blows out the birthday candle which is really a small flashlight decorated with construction paper to look like a candle. He leans over, blows it, and the teacher clicks off the switch. Cheers all around. Milk and special birthday muffins are distributed.

Once the party is over, the family leaves early--probably to take him to the park or the zoo. Maybe they’ll get together with relatives later for a special dinner.

And that’s it. They don’t know that they made a mistake. Maybe they’ll figure it out someday, but not now. All they’re thinking about is how to make this day a special one; how to make their little boy happy on his fourth birthday. And they do, God bless them.

This is parenting.

It’s an endless sea of gray with ‘right’ on one side and ‘disaster’ on the other. It’s wanting nothing more than to make your little sweetheart happy. In doing so, sometimes we screw up royally. But there are a million opportunities for disaster lurking in every junk drawer, trash can, and good intention.

Blue Pill Parents, comrades, it looks as though we’ve skirted disaster once again.

Peace. And God help us.


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