This past weekend, I took Mazzy and Harlow to a rooftop lunch in perhaps the most beautiful location in NYC. I’m not exaggerating. There it is above. A rooftop garden in Rockefeller Center. We were there to celebrate the digital release of Beauty and the Beast, perfectly represented by two long tables lined with tall candelabras and the St. Patrick’s cathedral in the background, which the girls kept calling “the beast’s castle.”
Whoever picked the location deserves a raise.
The lunch was a three course meal cooked and presented by Cat Cora (of Food Network fame) for about 50 extremely lucky attendees, including Jim Gaffigan and his family, a cast member from Real Housewives and the woman who voices Princess Jasmine, to name a few.
This is not a sponsored post and I am not writing this post to brag about the experience (although the entire event was flawless). I am writing this because, even when you have a perfect setting and impressive company, your impeccably dressed children can still be total a-holes.
You can’t really blame them though, because kids don’t care about a three course lunch or understand why it’s so important for you to get a picture of that three course lunch or the fact that they are eating it off China that probably cost more than their mother’s college education.
That’s not an exaggeration either. I went to a state school.
I keep thinking that as my kids get older, they will be more inclined to appreciate the wonderful opportunities that this blog provides them. But nope. That’s not what seems to be happening. Instead, special treatment is becoming nothing special, free stuff is the norm, and grand locations are just locations.
This is, of course, ALL MY FAULT.
Let me stop here to say— Mazzy and Harlow had a fantastic time at the event. They got pink roses painted on their hands, joked around as they sipped from huge glass goblets, honestly liked the chicken, made friends with other kids in attendance and were thrilled that after dessert was served, we got to go inside to watch a screening of Beauty and the Beast in its entirety. They were also excited to take home the huge plush rose-shaped cushions that they sat on during the screening.
But were they as grateful and well behaved as I wanted them to be?
Perhaps my expectations are too high. Or perhaps I need to recognize that the reason I find events like this one amazing is because I am first experiencing them at the age of 42.
We did not get the perfect picture all together at the event, as we rarely do. Mazzy and Harlow refused to stand in front of the Beauty and the Beast sign and I decided not to force the issue. While eating lunch, my co-worker Cara tried to take photos of us from across the table, but Mazzy and Harlow never smiled at the same time in the same shot.
In fact, in many photos, they actually looked like they were being tortured. Mazzy also brought along a black Beanie Boo Bat, for some reason, who made its way in front of her face in half the pictures.
They both crawled all over me during lunch so that it was hard to enjoy my meal.
Harlow complained of the heat and spilled her water on her salad. Then she cried even though she wasn’t planning on going anywhere near her salad to begin with.
Mazzy stole my sunglasses and then dropped them underneath the table. Then Harlow got mad when I had to plop her back onto her own seat so that I could pull back my chair, crawl under the table and pick them up.
When they finally left the table to go inside, I was relieved to sit there by myself and sip my drink (for the first time) in peace.
I based my whole book on lowering expectations and having a selective memory when you reflect back on your day, but now with over seven years as a mom under my belt, I find that I am having a harder time practicing what I preach.
Shouldn’t I know what I am doing by now? Am I destroying my kids by exposing them to such nice things? Would I still be trying to get the perfect family photo if I wasn’t posting it on Instagram?
These are the things I think about.
I usually come around and tie each story up with a bow at the end, but honestly, my plan today was to tell you that I have no bow. Then, in the middle of writing this post, I remembered something.
If you follow me on Snapchat, you know the balcony on our apartment (and all the windows in our main living area) has been covered by scaffolding and a plastic tarp for over a year, totally blocking our view and prohibiting us from going outside. It’s been up so long, Harlow doesn’t even remember ever going out there.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the scaffolding finally came down and we were able to see out our windows and open the door to step outside once again.
That evening, a few hours after the Beauty and the Beast event, I told the kids I was ordering a pizza for dinner. Mazzy suggested that we eat it on the balcony. I suggested a picnic but Mazzy had a better idea. She carried the kids table and chairs outside herself and then Harlow helped set the table.
The pizza arrived and we all took our seats as I doled out slices on paper plates and poured water into plastic cups. While we ate, we told each other our “boo-hoos” and “woo-hoos” of the day (yes, we still do that).
Mazzy’s “woo-hoo” was watching Beauty and the Beast and Harlow’s “woo-hoo” was jumping into a pile of plush roses during the screening. I’m not sure what I said at the time (probably something about feeling lucky to have lunch in such a spectacular setting), but looking back, my “woo-hoo” was not that all.
It was pizza on our balcony.
When the kids were relaxed and being themselves and I didn’t care about taking the perfect photo for Instagram.
I guess I was selectively remembering the wrong part of our day.
When I think about how I will make my children into more grateful human beings (which I definitely need to work on and I welcome any ideas you might have), I also have to remember that Mazzy and Harlow are still just kids. What they are grateful for is not going to be anything involving a glass goblet or sitting still while their mom eats a salad, as pretty as that salad might be.
Later that night, when I finally figured out a pic of the rooftop lunch to post on Instagram (which ended up being of the location without me or my kids), someone commented that I was in the background of Jim Gaffigan’s video of the same event. I checked his Instagram account and found the video. It’s of his youngest son trying and failing to pick up a pea with his fork and then lashing out at his mom when she asks if he needs help.
I watched it ten times in a row and immediately felt better about my own experience.
Kids are all the same.