As a young(ish) mom, I treasured time with my little boys, but sometimes I needed a break, especially during the long, hot summer stretches of school vacation. I am sure my kids were not so very different from any others, but in my defense, Son 1 did like to jump on our bed around 6 a.m. every day and gleefully ask “What are we going to do now?”
Favorite activities when the boys were little included playing grocery store (yes, just as riveting as it sounds), hitting trees with sticks and my personal favorite … painting. This art endeavor involved about twenty minutes of set-up, two reams of paper, smocks, tarps, and another trip to Costco for more paper towels. Evidently the object was not to create a picture of perfection, it was all about quantity and speed. The more pieces of paper with a wide swipe or two of color, the better. The boys would lose interest in this exciting endeavor in 4.2 minutes. Clean-up lasted upwards of an hour. When Hubs returned home, he would be inundated and, of course, appreciatively stunned at the sheer volume of artwork.
Lunchtime was my respite. I made their meals and then plopped them in front of the television for an educational episode or two of Barney. Yes, I own it. You were a better parent, pat yourself on the back. I grabbed a plate, sat on a stool and turned on the kitchen television to watch All My Children. This was not really my fault, as it was an addiction first started in college. The gateway event was an almost mandatory daily dorm gathering where we breathlessly followed Tad’s every mischievous and/or nefarious adventure in dear old Pine Valley.
As the boys grew, Son 1 started referring to the program as The Dr. Manly Show. He often would stroll through the kitchen and ask things such as “Whose evil twin has shown up today?” “Anyone back from the dead?” “How is that pesky amnesia going?”
One day, Son 1 finally asked, “Why do you watch such ridiculous drivel?” “Mind candy,” I replied.
He looked me up and down, shook his head and said, “I think you might just be the dumbest smart person I know!” Ah, he knew just how to charm a mother’s heart …
Eventually All My Children went the way of so many things of my youth … size eights (and then tens), the ability to keep my eyes open past 10 p.m., and the belief that everything happens for a reason.
I must say I did miss the daily drama of it all. As we are now empty nesters, our excitement consists of things like “What’s for dinner?” and “Did you remember it’s trash day tomorrow?” In fact, I love the idea of a “Real Housewives of St. Louis.” Viewers could watch us mowing the yard, walking the dog and dozing in front of the television in the early evening. The cliffhanger end of season … Who drove the car last? That’s who should fill it up with gas!
So I was susceptible. First Donald Trump came into my periphery. Like a train wreck, I couldn’t look away. The twists and turns of the election were a surprise to me, much like Tad sleeping with Liza’s mother!
Then Amazon Prime offered me three free months of the Washington Post, you know, that fake news organization that’s often the first to uncover D.C. shenanigans.
Ultimately, I found Donald J. Trump’s tweets. I confess, they are the first thing I look at every morning. It’s not so much for the content, but for the errors. I can’t help it. I am an editor at heart, and the man can’t write himself out of a paper bag. He also does not understand the 140 character thing, and rants in two and three continuing posts that are quite hard to follow, yet somehow seem to reflect the disorganization thus far in the White House. Hey Donald, here’s a secret for you, TwitLonger.
I also enjoy reading Facebook in this new era of gloves-off partisanship. People I know personally, really nice people, love to pick fights and hurl abuse at those who have divergent views. Why not? Our president (precedent?) does this daily.
So now, once again, I can enjoy drama vicariously. As a bonus, Son 1 works in the heart of the action, the U.S. House of Representatives. If only he weren’t such a rule follower (so much like Greg and Jenny!) and would spill some beans for his poor, gossip-craving mama.