This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures.
A new movie starring Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell is coming out on June 30th called The House, about a couple who can’t imagine telling their daughter that they can’t afford the college of her choice, so instead, they decide to open up an illegal casino in their neighbor’s basement to pay for it. You can check out the trailer here.
I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’m going to take a wild guess and say this plan goes horribly awry.
Now. I’ve never done anything so crazy that I risked jail time for my kids, but as a parent, I can definitely relate to going to great lengths to support them. From harassing friends to buy girl scout cookies so Mazzy could reach her chosen incentive prize (and then harassing them for a second time when Mazzy made a last minute prize goal upgrade) to setting alarms for sign-up times for after school classes because the spots open and fill-up in the span of thirty seconds. Mike and I both call from our mobile phones at once, while we’re also connected to each other via our office land lines to talk through options if one of us gets through. It reminds me of trying to call a radio station as a kid to win concert tickets, except the stakes are much higher. “We got shut out of lyrical dance.” NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
I can also relate to stretching the limits of what is financially sound in order to help them pursue their interests. Do you know how much extracurricular activities cost in Manhattan??? You don’t want to know. Also, the logistics of two kids in two different schools with different after school classes all over town is a nightmare. I thought planning and signing up for their activities was a full-time job, but that’s nothing compared to remembering what is happening on which day and figuring out who is going to take them and where.
Grammy and Mike switch off who takes Mazzy and Harlow to gymnastics, me and Ruth switch off who takes Harlow to hip-hop, I pick up Mazzy from comic book class, a very generous friend takes Mazzy to Hebrew school and then Mike and I switch off who picks her up. If there is a wrench thrown in the system, it can all come crumbling down.
For instance, a few weeks ago, Harlow had a rehearsal for her dance recital. Ruth was scheduled to pick her up from school and take her, but about 45 minutes before the rehearsal, she texted me to say that Harlow really wanted me to take her. Even though I had a ton to do at work, I didn’t want to disappoint her, so I told Ruth to drop her off at my office and I would go. Harlow was so excited when she arrived that I thought being late with a few work deadlines was worth it.
I had the foresight to change her into her leotard and dance shoes before we left, but unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to check the time and location of the rehearsal. I falsely assumed it was at the regular studio at the the regular time. As we were walking to the subway, I texted my friend (who also has a kid in the class) to say that I would see her there.
“It’s now,” she texted back.
“I thought it was at 3:30.”
“No. It’s at 3pm.”
I quickly pulled up the email about the rehearsal on my phone and realized that not only did I have the wrong time, it was taking place at the theater where they were having the recital, which I had never been to before. I had no idea how to get there by subway so I hailed a cab. Honestly, it should have been painfully obvious that there was no way were were going to make it, but in my head, I could not imagine Harlow missing her rehearsal so I kept plugging along like the show couldn’t go on without her.
While in the cab, my friend texted that the class had just finished their first run-through but after a few other classes went, they would do it again. Okay, I thought. We can still make the second run-through!
The cab ride seemed to last a trillion years and I started to prepare Harlow for the possibility that we might miss it. She didn’t seem to be able to compute that scenario either. Then the cab driver couldn’t find the theater and pulled over a few blocks away, telling me to get out of the car because he thought he had passed it and it would take too long to circle back. So there we were. Harlow, myself, our stroller, my bag and her backpack, all out on the curb having no idea where to find this damn theater.
“They are about to go on for the second run-through,” my friend texted.
“WHERE IS THIS PLACE????” I frantically texted back.
“It’s not on the street. There’s a red ramp behind the park and then the theater is up on the left.”
I looked around and could see it about an avenue and a half away. Again, it was totally too late, but instead of doing the rational thing and admitting defeat, I picked up Harlow by the waist with one arm, folded the stroller up with the other arm, slung both bags over my shoulder and RAN.
“I’M TRYING TO MAKE IT, HARLOW!!!!” I screamed as I dodged pedestrians on the sidewalk (slamming a few with my flying stroller, I’m sure) and fully felt like I was filming that cliche movie scene when they are trying to depict your typical hot mess working mom who clearly can’t do it all.
When we finally arrived at the theater, I was sweating, stressed beyond belief and Harlow seemed shell shocked. The woman at the front checked us in and I ran into the auditorium and up to the stage flailing my belongings like a wild animal with Harlow still under my arm, while all the other moms who had gotten there on time, casually glanced up from their seats to see the source of the disturbance.
I dropped my stuff and then carried Harlow backstage. “Harlow!” her teacher exclaimed when she saw her. “You got here just in time for the finale!”
It was then that Harlow finally understood what was happening. She burst into tears.
“WHAT ABOUT THE ROUTINE???”
Before I could answer, the teacher whisked her away to join her class on stage and I skulked back into the auditorium to sit down (doing my best to avoid eye contact with everyone.) Harlow came out and danced in the finale for .2 seconds and then it was over.
Three seconds after that, Harlow was released from class, came down from the stage and it was time to go home. She started crying again. “I MISSED IT,” she sobbed to me.
“You got to do the finale! And really, the most important thing about a rehearsal is to know what it feels like to be on stage!”
Harlow looked unconvinced. I tried to take a more honest approach.
“I’m so sorry, sweetie. I didn’t realize the rehearsal was a half hour early. I wanted to be here with you but I messed up.”
Harlow took a moment to make sense of it all, as the tears streaking down to her face seemed to pause momentarily.
“You messed up,” she repeated.
“Can I have a doughnut?”
You see? If you can’t throw money or time at the problem, parents always have dessert.
Watch the official trailer for The House below and don’t miss it in theaters June 30!