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Last Minute Parents

Updated on November 3, 2009


I know some of you may have found this post thinking it was going to be about women who didn’t know that they were pregnant or something like that. I can assure you that it will not be about that but if you care or dare, read on. No, this is going to be about those parents who seem to leave everything having to do with and for their children to the last minute. I don’t understand these people; don’t they know that Halloween is always October 31st? Don’t they know when Christmas, Hanukkah (well in our own defense, with the Jewish holidays never falling on the same exact calendar day every year we Jews do kind of have an out there) but still with all the holidays it seems that some parents no matter how many times they’ve celebrated it or whatever will always be last minute parents – Don’t Get Me Started!

It was the early morning of October 31st and I found myself in the unhappy situation of having to go to Wal-Mart to ensure we had candy for the kiddies. I guess at this point it’s important to tell you that although the candy had all ready been purchased before this date it had also unfortunately been consumed (not by goblins or ghouls but by my spouse and me) and although for the past eleven years of living in the same place and being able to count the number of tricker treaters we’ve had over the past eleven years on one hand, I still wanted to have candy (good candy) just in case this was the year we were bombarded. So there I was off to Wal-Mart to get the additional candy that was not really needed to get through the holiday.  

The parking lot was jammed and I knew in a instant that I was in trouble. As I raced in the doors I didn’t stop for a cart or basket, no I was going to get just enough that I could carry and do my best to race back to the checkout stand as if I was on that old game show, Super Market Sweep. I went to where the “holiday aisle” was only to find one side completely empty and the other side filled with Christmas crap. WHAT?!? Are you kidding me? The day of and there’s no candy left? I just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) believe it. I walked through the aisles that I knew normally housed these things three times and yet it was true, the Halloween specialty candy had either all been bought or put away until next year. The closest I could find was one aisle that was filled on one side of cheap costumes falling off their hangers and the other side filled with décor such as the classic rubber bat. As I walked down this aisle looking for the candy that was not there I saw them, the last minute parents and as seemed fitting the parents were so glazed over in facial expression that they seemed like zombie parents. Quite befitting for this particular holiday.

I saw one woman who was touching almost every costume but I could see by the expression on her face that neither the feel nor the price of the costumes she was touching was really getting into her consciousness. I could almost hear the inner conversation she was having with herself, “I shouldn’t have waited until the last minute. Little Andre is going to kill me. What was it I said he could be? Did I say Spiderman? I don’t see any Spiderman costumes maybe he can be Tickle Me Elmo. I know it was fifteen years ago when this was popular (and from the looks of it that’s how long the costume has been put out and stored each year by this Wal-Mart) but maybe it’s old enough to be retro cool? How am I going to explain “retro cool” to an eleven year old? Why didn’t I do this sooner? Maybe he can be a hanger. Oh, no that’s just an empty hanger it’s not really a costume. Maybe they have silly string and I can just distract him with that and tell him it’s for those super heroes who help Spiderman spin his web. Oh look, a Powerpuff costume from a million years ago…were any of them red and blue? I don’t know about red and blue but I’m suddenly aware of where the doctor gave me my flu shot on my arm. Is it black and blue? Focus, must focus on the task at hand. Oh my God, there it is, one last Spiderman costume. The Gods are really smiling on me today. Yea, I’m going to be the best parent in the world when I get home with that. Oh shit, I think he wanted to be Batman, not Spiderman. Crap. I’ll start earlier next year and listen to him.”

She won’t listen more to her child, she’ll procrastinate and find herself in the same place because she is one of millions who allow life and work to get in the way of really getting the stuff they promised to their kids in time for their kids to have it for their holiday or special event. These are the parents who will always be in a drugstore on Christmas Eve looking for the hottest toy (and knowing they have no chance of getting the “hottest toy of the season” in a drugstore). They’ll be the ones who are looking for a holiday ham in a 7/11 on Easter morning. I’m not criticizing them but I’m wondering why they don’t make life easier on themselves and when the kid says they need a green garbage bag to be a grape in the school play that they don’t put a reminder on their Outlook calendar to get it the next day? Just being a little more proactive will help your kids believe in you a little more and let yourself believe in you a little more. So do whatever you can to not be that woman I saw on Halloween in that aisle not even knowing what she was looking for in the first place. Try and do what you can to not be one of those last minute parents – Don’t Get Me Started!

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