Thursday, July 4, 2013

Breaking My Own Rules

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on September 24th, 2011.]

I am a teacher’s daughter. When I was growing up, we never — and I mean never — missed school.

Not only were we bus students (read: scrupulously trained to be at the bus stop on time), but my parents bent over backwards to ensure we didn’t miss any time. If we had a dentist appointment, it was scheduled for 8 am, so we’d arrive at school having missed (at most) the morning announcements.

Many times we weren’t late at all.

It sucked.

And back when I was obsessed with cared what people thought, I was paranoid about skipping school.

What would people think of me?! The horror!

That, and my parents rightfully put the fear of God in me regarding potential punishments.

Therefore, without ever having to detail exactly what would happen if I did step out of line, I was paralyzed by the apocalyptic, life-changing retribution awaiting me if I attempted to skip school.

And yes, I always assumed I’d get caught. Fear of God, I tell you.

These be omniscient parents.

(As an adult, of course, I realize it was all due to their combined social networking in a small town. I’m talking old school social networking: the kind where you know people from bowling, card parties, charity social functions, being coworkers, or simply having lived in the same town your whole life. I couldn’t breathe without a potential snot-bubble being reported to my parents before my shadow darkened our doorstep.)

Anyhow. The message settled in, and as a parent, I don’t like my children missing school. Unless they’re legitimately sick, or have an appointment that absolutely cannot be scheduled without conflict, they’re there. It’s ingrained. It’s important.

But on Monday I broke my rule. (GASP!)

Yep. A friend had about-to-expire-free-passes to Marineland, a theme park my kids have never seen. I dithered, then gave in.

September. Cool weather, not mind-numbing heat. No line ups for rides (read: boys’ patience not required). And a chance to see some amazing animals up close.

Did I mention it was free?

At the end of the day, it cost us gas (the drive was five hours round trip), $9 in deer feed (enough for four kids), an expressway toll (because I shouldn’t make navigational decisions in sight of jam-packed free highways when I have a full bladder), $15 in souvenirs, and $28 in fast food (we packed lunch, but it was five hours round trip! I needed caffeine, and we hit McD’s on the way home).

Mr Lannis figures it was $80-$90 all told. For a day out at a theme park? Including souvenirs and hot food for all? Not bad.

And let’s be honest. How often do you really get to do this?

Not watching whales. No, that’s not just watching whales.

It’s watching your kids be transfixed by magic.

And learning firsthand that belugas are big hams, too.

Sorry, Mom and Dad. It was worth it.

(We’ll play by the rules tomorrow. Maybe.)

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