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Hill Country Living

By Coulter Fussell

I would have written about this two weeks ago but it’s taken me that long to recover. Until the last few days, I was unable to recall the events in any sort of order to present a narrative as they were all just a blur of emotion; feelings of joy quickly turning to dread, frustration, rage and, eventually, resignation. 

My post traumatic stress disorder from the entire ordeal has now faded enough to recall the events. I imagine some of you all have guessed what happened to me as you most likely have also been a victim of the same circumstance. Yes, I let my 12 year old son invite five boys to spend the night for his birthday. I haven’t been the same since.

To begin with, I won’t even really address that fact that my son’s travel little league tournament in Winona made him an hour late for his own birthday party. That’s a whole other column. So, I was just hanging with three of the kids alone for a while. They probably felt super ripped off, having to hang with some kid’s mom. But they Nerf-gunned their way through the hour wait without complaint.

When the tournament was over and my two kids were back in town, the three boys and I went to pick them up. But, to my surprise, we also picked up another kid. Some extra kid got in my car; a kid I had never met. He was from the baseball team, apparently, and was now joining the party. 

Fine with me, but, let’s do a head count…one adult, six kids, one Toyota Corolla, a 30-minute ride to Oxford. Physics was not on our side. But the children seemed convinced that a few “buddy buckles” would keep me out of trouble and avoid a call from DHS for child endangerment.

The extra kid proved to be an interesting young man. In Oxford, he cat-called the college girls, which led MY kid to cat-call the college girls by way of yelling his brand new phone number, his birthday gift from me — his mother. The extra kid also asked me to drop them all off on the square so they could knock on all the restaurant windows and run off real fast and that “would be okay because there’s a bail bonds next to Goolsby’s Hair World so you can get us out real fast in time for the movie.”

They saw Godzilla. I have paid summer electricity bills that were lower than how much it cost to take six hungry boys to the movies. My youngest kid was hushed by a stranger only once (probably a record) after he “accidentally” dumped an entire large popcorn on Becky Tatum’s child, who in turn, just ate dumped popcorn out of his own lap the  rest of the movie.

After they declared Godzilla (the worst movie ever made, by the way) to be the best movie ever made, the rest of the night was eight full hours of pizza, Dr. Peppers, laugh-screaming, and absolute total pandemonium. 

By 4 a.m. I was basically a changed woman and had no qualms about yelling at another person’s child. I was like Miss Hannigen from “Little Orphan Annie.”

Eventually they passed out like a bunch of frat boys and after the last kid’s drop-off the next morning I moved through the world in a haze, as I had the worst jet lag of my life. Having jet lag is an especially bitter experience when there is no vacation attached to it.

All this to say, to the other parents who have experienced something similar by way of a spend the night party: I feel you. I see you.

Lastly, happy 12th birthday to my oldest boy! You’re worth it, even though it’s been two weeks and I’m still tired.

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