Formerly Family Fun 1

Getting your neighbor’s mail by accident can be intense.

You open an envelope to find a bill with a horrific amount due to a company you don’t recognize and freak out.

Then just before you’re about to engage in phone rage with a clueless customer service representative who speaks broken English, you notice it’s not your name on the bill.

You breath a sigh of relief.

But, there’s still the issue of delivering the opened mail to your neighbor.

“Uhh, this was put in our mailbox by mistake and I opened it before I realized it wasn’t mine.”

“I didn’t read it though. Hardly any of it, anyway. Mostly just the name . . . that I noticed wasn’t mine . . . after reading only that . . . mostly.”

Awkward silence.

“So, sorry. And tell your husband I can tell it’s working because I have noticed a big difference in his hairline. Umm, bye.”

On Saturday I accidentally got my neighbor’s Family Fun magazine in the mail. As I looked through the colorful and creative pages I felt nostalgic, and guilty—like all motherly emotions.

It reminded me of when I used to be a Family Fun mom. Back when I spent hours making cute food, homemade games, and themed activities.

Eventually, after going so far as to make a Family Fun reference binder organized by topic, theme, and holiday, containing articles, ideas and photos I’d clipped from my favorite issues, I realized something important—my kids don’t care.

As they walked in the door from school and devoured my bagel critters without even a glance, broke the clothespin giraffe before the glue even dried, or asked when they’d stitched on my homemade sewing cards long enough to earn computer time, I realized I was juggling for a blind audience.

Why was I doing all this? Did it make me a better mom? Not really.

Usually my efforts resulted in something like, “No, you can’t eat those! They took me forever to make!” or “Sit down and play with that dreidel game I made for ten more minutes or no friends for a month!”

As I thumbed through the displaced magazine many memories flashed through my mind— even a few good ones. Occasionally I did managed to pull off some successful Family Fun.

But the fact is, kids are pretty easy to please. I realized what they want most is my attention and time, not my attention to detail and time spent on a locomotive made out of graham crackers and Life Savers.

The front of the magazine featured “cheddar cheesy smile snacks.” The “simple” instructions were a paragraph long and included cutting pimentos into 1/8 inch pieces.

I closed the magazine and a chapter of my life as my son came in the door, “Hey Mom, do you have any snacks?”

I reached into a grocery bag and pulled out a string cheese and tossed it to him. “Here you go, dude.”

He said, “Thanks Mom,” then gave me a cheesy snack smile.

One comment on “Formerly Family Fun

  1. Reply Haunani Aug 23,2011 8:05 pm

    Oh how I love this post! You have totally echoed my exact thoughts this week. As the kids started yet another year of school, I felt a little guilty taking them to Sonic for First Day of School treats instead of making them a Very Hungry Caterpillar out of cake pops…but only for a second. I thoroughly enjoyed my day of doing absolutely nothing productive while they were all at school. And instead of being exhausted from carving a “Welcome Home” ice sculpture, I could happily enjoy all their stories while we drank purple slushies together. Hooray for older kids and enlightened moms!! Thanks for validating me.

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