The Kool-Aid Mom

I have a confession: I always wanted to be the Kool-Aid Mom. You know, like in the old commercials. All the neighborhood kiddies playing and having a great ol’ time hanging out at our house. Then I'd sweep in with the overflowing tray of drinks and snacks. Everyone would take a break from all that incredible fun to gather round and chow down. Oh yeah!

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That's what I wanted. But I never got it. And it wasn't my fault. It was my oldest child's fault! Okay, okay, it wasn't her fault either. It's just that the conditions were never quite right.

First of all, in order to be the Kool-Aid Mom, I needed a neighborhood that actually had kids in it. Our neighborhood never really had the numbers necessary to fulfill my fantasy. Also, those neighborhood kids needed to be the right ages--somewhere in the vicinity of my own kids. Again, didn't happen.

But there was an even more important factor necessary for me to become a real Kool-Aid Mom. You see, I also needed a Kool-Aid Kid.

Our oldest daughter is an awesome young woman. She’s beautiful and smart, well-adjusted and talented (yeah, okay, I’ll stop now), however, she was never a Kool-Aid Kid. During her elementary and middle school days, she was perfectly happy hanging out at home with her nose in a book.

Of course, I was constantly pushing, “Why don’t you go to the movies with a big group, then come back here for pizza?” Or “Hey, why not have friends over after school on Friday?” or “Let’s plan a pajama party!” While these ideas occasionally came to fruition, more often than not, they were met with a smile and “Good idea, mom.” Then the nose went right back into the book, and the suggestion was conveniently forgotten.

I used to worry about her. I mean, sure she was active in sports and dance, and she had a few nice friends. But I was concerned she would eventually become lonely or depressed. I couldn’t understand why she didn't have the burning need, that I apparently thought she should have, to maintain a busy social life. Looking back now, with that perfect 20/20 vision only hindsight can provide, I can say in all seriousness…

Boy, was I ever a Type-A, first-class goof!

My kid turned out just fine, with perfectly normal social skills and everything! Fortunately, before I completely messed up her psyche, I did realize that being the Kool-Aid Mom wasn’t what was important. The healthy development of my children was. And once I embraced this fact, I was finally able to abandon my Kool-Aid Mom fantasy.

Ironically, that’s when it came true. Sort of.

See, when our girl entered high school, I witnessed her social life begin to blossom. And by her senior year? Fuggedboutit! Instead of begging her to go out with friends, I was begging her to stay home. “You’re so busy all the time. Wanna have a family game night, tonight?”

“But mom,” she’d explain, not without sympathy. “I already made plans with so-and-so to do such-and-such.”

“OOooookkkaaaayyy,” I’d pout.

“But we’ll all come back here afterwards, okay?” she’d add with a quick hug before heading out the door.

And it was okay. One thing my hubs and I did and still do, is make our home available for teen gatherings. Rather than me being a Kool-Aid Mom, together we’ve become, er, “High School Kool-Aid Parents.” Even if it’s last minute, our kids know their friends are always welcome. So instead of having little kids playing tag in the yard, we have teens playing music in the basement. But just like in my original dream, they’re still laughing, talking and eating snacks.

As my regular readers know, our oldest is now off livin’ the college life, but her teenage brother is still here. So I get a few more years of being a High School Kool-Aid Parent.

Oh yeah!

Are you, or have you ever been a Kool-Aid Parent?

Image by: The Shifted Librarian


Heidi Willis said...

Holy cow. I think we lead parallel lives.

Me too! All of it! The dream - the kidless neighborhood - the quiet keep-to-herself daughter.

So glad yours turned out good! :) We still have a few years to find out how much damage I've caused mine. :)

Nancy said...

What a great dream and I'm glad it turned out so well.

This was a very cute blog.

Ivy said...

Sweet-D and I hope our house becomes the hang out too! And we just might have enough electronics to make it happen. :)

My house was the hangout when I was a kid, but my mom wasn't the Kool-Aid mom. She just gave us money and sent across the street to Dairy Queen.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Thanks, guys! And Ivy, Dairy Queen is good. Ice cream is always good! ;o)

Teresa Robeson said...

Being an introvert, I never wanted to be a Kool-Aid mom...LOL! Lucky for me, my kids are both introverts too, although judging from the progress of your daughter, they may both surprise me soon.

Glad you finally got your wish, albeit a bit later than you expected or wanted!

Jennifer Shirk said...

The grass is always greener, right? LOL

I'm a Kool-Aid parent now. (More like a popcicle parent) There's A LOT of little kids in the neighborhood and they're always over. Thank goodness I only have one child because I already feel like a Brady Bunch parent. LOL But it's nice that they want to play here.

Martha said...

My mom was one of those parents who welcomed everyone into our home. I always wanted that but forgot to marry a guy who would tolerate, much less enjoy, a houseful of kids (or teenagers). I'm feeling a bit disappointed today. Our youngest (of seven) will be 19 this summer and my dreams of ever being the Kool-aid mom have been dashed forever.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Oh, Martha! Don't be too sad. My goodness, with seven children, I'm sure you've had plenty of boisterous fun along the parenting road.

I'm sure you're going through those normal feelings of sadness we parents experience when our "babies" are suddenly full-grown young men and women. How DID that happen?!

My son is 19 now and I think it's never too late. Maybe your hubby will do better with college age kids? Or maybe someday you will become the coolest Kool-Aid grandma!