Red Ribbon Week: AKA – Some Sort of Fresh Hell

Red Ribbon Week, for those of you not in ‘the know’, is a week in October designed and dedicated to encourage kids not to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. During this event every day of this week has a cutesy little catch phrase partnered with a dress-up challenge. For example, one day might be “Say Peace Out to Drugs!” and students would be encouraged to dress in peace symbols and tie dye. It’s a creative way to highlight a serious topic. When my kids were in elementary school – they participated because, Hello! When you’re a kid, you like to dress up. So I was that mom – I got the crazy socks, the camo shirt, the neon hair dye, the mismatched outfits, the detective costume, the team jersey, the Hawaiian lei. It was nothing short of an endless errand running madness sandwiched between all my other mom duties – but I did it because you do this sh*t for your kids! This has been going on for SEVEN YEARS.

Even though my kids are now in Intermediate and Middle school, I felt like I still had to at least ask them if they wanted to participate. Secretly, the idea of putting together outfits AGAIN made me want to lay down on a Kindermat and suck my thumb. I pretty much knew how my 8th grader would respond when I threw it out to her. I received the classic eye roll at the mere suggestion of doing something ‘participate-y’ coupled with the exact phrase “Are you freaking kidding me?”

Her loathing of all things that come out of my mouth is at least consistent so I took comfort in that. Once the familiar sting of her biting glare and judgement passed I reveled in the idea that I had actually won in this scenario. I sure as hell though wasn’t going to let her know about my internal celebration. One kid down, one to go. My youngest, who is in 6th grade, is on that fence. You know – the one where she kinda wants to participate because she is still 11, but also doesn’t want to put herself out there unless all her other friends are doing the same thing.

Cautiously I went over her school’s themes without making much of a big to-do. I stressed that if she wanted to dress up I needed a decent amount of time to achieve said costume goals. I’m a planner. Last minute changes are not in my wheelhouse. As if the heavens parted with a glorious beaming ray shining down upon her angelic face, she firmly and confidently voiced that she had no interest in participating. My inner dialog had shouts of Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! Amen!!! For the first time in I don’t know how many years – YES I DO – SEVEN, I was off the hook for Red Ribbon Week. I let the rare feeling of utter satisfcation and true happiness wash all over me. As I left the room so they wouldn’t see the obnoxious grin on my face, I high fived the air in victory.

Monday morning came and I basked in non-stressed delight as I entertained my second cup of coffee. Just for fun though, I poked my youngest a little because I already knew the answer – I just wanted to hear it out loud again.

Monday: Wear Red
“Honey, are you sure you don’t want to wear red today? You could at least throw on that red sweater .” Her response: Nope.

Tuesday: Wear Superhero Gear
“Sweetie, are you sure you don’t want to borrow my Wonder Woman cape that I used to wear when I was teaching? Just throw it over your outfit?” Her response: Nope.

Wednesday: Wear a Hat
“Butter bean, want to wear my navy ball cap that goes with the sweatshirt you have on? You won’t even have to worry about doing your hair today! Bonus!” Her response: Nope.

So there you go. Asked and answered. I offered so it made me look like I was a devoted mom but now I was bored with the game. Moving on to life as we know it.

Enter Thursday morning.

I looked at the clock and gave the girls their standard “We are leaving in 20 minutes!” warning. Down the stairs came my 6th grader, still in pajamas, bundled in her blanket. As I tried to wrap my mind around what I was seeing whilst pushing down the obscenities that were rising to the top of my throat – because how the hell were we going to get out the door in 20 when she’s still in jammy-jams… she busted out with this bullsh*t question:

“Do we have anything I can wear for today’s theme? It’s the 70s.”

I. Can’t. Speak.

Y’all. Please. I love this child – but I was about to go carnival freak crazy on her – with no apologies. We’d discussed this. Decisions were made. Plus, she couldn’t change direction on the easy days? Red? Superhero? A freaking hat? I could have rallied last minute with minimal stress on any of those. But the 70s?? Are you kidding me? The conversation that occurred next is not really anything I want to put into writing but once I had said what needed to be said (interpret that how you will), I went to business. Fast. I started pulling from everyone’s closet. Bottom line – it’s what moms do. Especially when your 11 year old is teetering between being a kid and not being a kid – you hold on to those ‘being a kid’ moments tighter than a pair of jeans during a food binge with the intent of ‘starting tomorrow.’

So here, I give you, how I MOTHER FREAKIN’ NAILED a Red Ribbon challenge in literally 14 minutes. I get that it’s not silly and costume-y. Nay, it’s BETTER. To use a 70s phrase made popular by its star character JJ Evans from Good Times – it was “Dy-No-Mite!” This outfit was legit historically authentic AND seriously super cute! She got to dress up (be a kid) but wear a real outfit (not be a kid). This #parentwin made me happier than seeing my kids walk for the first time, mastering potty training, hearing “I love you mommy”. It made me prouder than when I was elected Senior Class President, received my Masters degree from Columbia University, won Teacher of the Year.

No this…THIS, very well might be my biggest accomplishment in like, the history of ever.

And that, my friends, is how you throw down a last minute RRW challenge.

BOOM!

But if this sh*t happens again next year, I’m seriously going to ‘peace out’. It’s all you, kids! Tell your story walking! I’m outta here! BYEEEEEEEEE! (Narrator: we all know she won’t do or say any of those things. She’ll be at Target when it opens.)

As a final RRW bonus, whenever you have a few minutes – doesn’t have to be now, I leave you with one of my favorite clips from Melissa Radke vocalizing her thoughts on the whole sitchadoodle. Preach Gir! Preach!

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3 Comments on “Red Ribbon Week: AKA – Some Sort of Fresh Hell

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