Sunday, March 17, 2013

Disturbing Footy Pajamas

I had the wonderful opportunity this weekend to have a "Mommy Getaway" with my good friend and sister-in-law, Marissa.  We wanted to take a little break from our mommy job and refresh our spirits.  We started by getting a one hour massage...wonderful!  We showered and changed then drove to Madison and went shopping at a few really cool stores.  We checked into our hotel, then went to dinner at a neat Mom-N-Pop pizza place in down-town Madison.  Back at the hotel, we took a dip in the hot tub then retired to our room to play a game of Bananagrams.  We then hit the sack in our matching Pj's (we are dorky that way - not sure how many pairs of matching PJ's we have, but its plenty).  The beds were COMFY - and we melted right in.  We slept pretty well... only waking slightly a few times and going right back to sleep.  We slept late though, which was nice... 9:00 am!  That never happens!  We had breakfast then came home.  Ahhh.... what a nice time away from the real world with an absolutely amazing lady who I love more than anything!  Happy delayed Birthday Marissa!!!  Hope you had fun.

While our "Mommy Getaway" was certainly wonderful, there was a little something that tainted it a little.  Maybe "taint" really isn't the right word, perhaps it was more of a "Mommy Gift" to us than a bad thing.  Either way, it left us both a bit disturbed. Let me just explain...

When we first arrived at the hotel to check in, it was obvious that there was some sort of teenage convention happening in the area.  There were teenage boys everywhere, along with a few girls and several adults who looked to be chaperons or parents.  While I was giving the hotel clerk my credit card, Marissa saw a woman walking in from the parking lot.  She was a mom carrying a 2-3 year old little girl who was completely passed out on her shoulder.  The first thought was, "awe... look at the sweet little girl and her mother, I can so relate to that" UNTIL... the full picture came into view and we realized the mom was carrying the largest bottle of Captain Morgan Rum we had ever seen.  It was just a funny thing to see.  I'm not faulting the mom for having the bottle... it just looked strange.  Although I did kind of think that was a very large bottle for a responsible mom.

Later when we went down to the hot tub, it was no surprise to see a bunch of teenage boys and their very affectionate girlfriends in the pool and hot tub.  There were no adults present and that didn't surprise me either.  What did surprise me was the bottled beers these teens were drinking... in the hot tub.  Being old like we are, it only made sense to go to the front desk and complain about the glass bottles in the pool area... but even after two warnings from the hotel staff, these kids were still "kickin it" with the beer at the pool.

Marissa and I started to wonder... maybe these aren't teenagers who are drinking beer and making out with their almost naked girlfriends in a public pool in front of families and children.... perhaps they are more adult than we assumed.  Could they maybe be in college or older?  Then we noticed one of the boys playing with the hot tub bubbles making a beard on his face and chest hair... and we went back to thinking... high school, definitely high school.  We watched in awe over the behavior.  We talked quietly about how if this was what was considered normal for high school kids, then what was it going to be like when our children were in high school?  This led to a discussion over private school... and then home schooling and then the possibility of placing our children in bubbles.

Soon we were done with the hot tub and it was time to go back up to our room.  It was about 9:00 I think.  The entrance to the hotel "bar" are was right by the elevator so we were able to see in there while we were waiting for our ride up.   In the bar we saw all the chaperons and parents busy talking and drinking.  It was loud and we could tell they had been drinking for quite some time.  There were chants and jokes and loud slurring of words pouring out of the doors.   No wonder those kids were doing what they were doing... their leaders were setting such a great example.  Soon, the most disturbing part came into view.  One of the doors to the bar was shut most the way.  It was all glass so we could see through it easily.  The door cracked open slightly, but couldn't open any farther because their was a purse strap wrapped around the handle keeping it from being able to be opened all the way. Quickly I saw why... remember the little girl we saw when we checked in?  Well there she stood on the bar side of that glass door wearing her warm footie pajamas looking out at us.  She was smiling and pressing her sweet little nose against the glass.  Marissa and I looked at each other completely appalled by this sight. The little girls mother was paying no attention to her and was drinking with her friends.  We waved at the little girl and smiled at her.  She was so happy to get some attention she smiled big and began to try and squeeze through the opening in the door to come out and greet us.

The elevator door opened and we took a last look at the girl then stepped inside feeling sick to our stomachs for her.  Right as the elevator doors were about to close, 3 adults from the bar stopped it and stepped inside.  The smelled horrible... like a brewery.  I decided to ask them what they were there for and I quickly got my answer.

"All of our boys are on the same high school hockey team and we are here for the playoffs."

Ah ha... they were in high school... and these were parents, not chaperons.

Just as the doors were about to close, the sweet little girl in the footy pajamas showed up, stepping right in the way of the huge closing door.  All of us in the elevator raced for the open door button at the same time but quickly someone grabbed the little girl from the hallway to save her from being squashed by the heavy door.  Wow... guess that rigged up purse strap wasn't the safest solution to keep her locked safely in the bar while her mom did shots after all.

At that point Marissa and I were quiet and ready to get off the elevator.  But in the short ride to our floor this is what we overheard.

Dad #1: Did you see that Ricky was throwing up just now?

Mom #1: Yeah... he is really hung over today.

Dad #2: Well, he was up partying until 4 am last night.

Dad #1: That's pretty good for a 12 year old.

We got off the elevator and walked to our rooms in silence.  Once inside, I looked at Marissa and asked... "Did I hear that correctly?"

Marissa nodded.  I think I can speak for Marissa when I say, it all just made us feel sick and uneasy.  All of it put together made me want to run home to my children and hug them.

At 10:00, I had to go ask a hotel staff member to go into the bar (which was closed but the parents were still in there) and ask these drunk people to stop pounding on the floor and tables as they chanted and yelled their team cheer.  I know, I'm a party pooper... but I'm okay with that.

It took a little while to get all of this off my mind, but I realized that there was nothing I could do about the way these parents or these children behaved.  It also wasn't my job to judge them.  But what was my job?  I'll tell you... my job is to make sure that I never, ever, ever become the kind of parent that thinks its okay to take a toddler into a bar.  To make sure I never, ever, ever, ever become the kind of parent who sets an example that is so confusing that Brett and Caroline end up thinking underage drinking and public almost-fornication is okay.  My job is to make sure I never, ever, ever, ever, ever become the kind of parent that thinks its cool or funny that a 12 year old partied til he was hung over and sick.  And finally, it is my job to be the kind of parent who makes sure my children aware that these types of behaviors happen everyday... and even if society thinks its okay, it most certainly is NOT.  I plan to teach my children that being different from society isn't a bad thing... and to always think about what would please God.  What would your next right step be?  As a parent, the last job I have is to pray.  To pray that my children will listen to what I have taught them.

God... please help me teach them well.  Help me set the best example I can.  Help me form them into the little man and woman you desire them to be.  God help me love my children enough to NOT be their best friends.  Help me love them enough to say NO.  Help me love them enough to let them go when its time. Mostly, help me always remember that even when they don't listen, You're in control and You've got their back.


  1. Wow, this breaks my heart. While I am far from the perfect parent, I hope that I can set a better example for my children. In an ideal world we could "bubble up" our children and protect them from others' influences, but eventually they will pop that bubble and be interested in what is going on outside in that big interesting world. I agree with you in that, while it pains me to show our kids the evil that exists out there, I would rather them experience it with me holding their hand than completely on their own. You can only hope that these kids will come across a mentor who can show them what a "12 year old" should actually be doing :(

  2. Very disturbing. It is hard to believe there are parents like this out there. It is no wonder kids are so messed up these days. Praying for my kids and all of Gods children.

  3. Wendy,
    Besides love and prayer and great limit-setting, I think you always need to know who the chaperones are for any event, and what THEIR feelings about limits are. As bad as it is to witness such abysmal parenting, think about the kid whose parents thought this was a great event for him to attend and that it was well-chaperoned!

    Second, I would come down much harder on the hotel. They were breaking the law in at least two ways. First, the teeny should not have been allowed in the bar, with or without parents - they were risking being shut down for that. And they were responsible for the underage drinking on the premises, whether or not they supplied the alcohol. I would consider a note to the manager of the hotel, mentioning that it would be a shame if they were to lose their liquor license over events such as these. None of this would have told the parents anything, they seem pretty much beyond redemption (by human judgment, not God's) but it would have communicated to the kids that there are community standards of behavior. That is one way that kids learn even when their parents are not capable of drawing the line. Kris Bruun