I cannot speak for everyone, but for all of the single parents out there, when the weekend comes, you try to fit in all the engagement you can with your child that you missed out on during the week. Maybe it’s the same for married parents too. You remember the last week, don’t you? It was when you had separate meal times, irregular sleep times and you were lucky if you got to kiss your child goodnight before they went to sleep. When you are the working parent, there is so much that you miss out on. So the weekend comes and you want to participate again.
The first thing you do, if you are a parent like me, is go out to dinner on Friday evening, or better yet, dinner and a movie. So this weekend I had the bright idea of going to see Dr. Strange with my parents. If you are a comic book fan then you should go, or a movie fan for that matter. And if you are a Sherlock fan and haven’t gone I’m going to ask, what’s wrong with you? It’s definitely worth watching, and a must see for those invested in the Marvel Comic movie universe. So going at 6:00 P.M. to a movie should be just fine, right? There will be no problems there.
Sure!!! Out by 8:30 P.M. should be fine, when you thought this through and ate dinner beforehand. But you didn’t. Because, you know, the weekend. And then you go to dinner with your parents who move a little more slowly than they once did so you are lucky to be seated and eating by nine. And then by the time you finish eating it’s 10, and home by 10:15. Change of clothes, get some medicine, and off to bed. Easy peasy! Because you are the cool parent and you can flex a little on weekends.
But me . . . brilliant me . . . forgets that after that I am all wound up and I’m supposed to be in bed because I have plans for tomorrow, bigger ones. I’m a glutton for torture and I want to go to sleep at 1:00 A. M. because I want to go to Knott’s with no sleep the next day. Oh did I forget to mention that? That’s right! I planned to go to Knott’s Berry Farm the next day because, you know, torture.
It’s a little more complicated than that. This is the first weekend I’ve had my daughter in three weeks because of a weekend swap. My daughter seems to have the most energy she has had since mid-October. And, last but not least, I’ve paid for a meal plan at Knott’s so we get two free meals a day with our passes. So I’m going because … that’s right… free food.
So a normal parent would sleep in a bit because they could, but I’m working on this writing thing, so I’m up early. Not 8:30 in the morning early. Up with the roosters early. And I’m writing and working, getting up and getting ready, corralling my daughter out of bed and moving her towards the door like a sheepdog, all the while making sure everything is packed for the day.
I remembered all kinds of things like liquids, medicines, and jackets when it gets cold because I’m on top of things. We get in the car and then get some breakfast. (Knott’s doesn’t include breakfast in their meal plan. Support your local boycott. I mean go Knott’s!!! They have an incredible meal plan. It’s actually quite a deal so I’m not complaining.)
Now at breakfast I am regaled with stories of the last three weeks, which I believe to be the point of what every time with my daughter is. I’m getting to find out about her. There is some great conversation going on. My daughter begins with construction and the leaning tower of Pisa, or jelly and creamer. She then gives me a detailed description of the battle of Lexington and Concord (with Concord Grape Jelly of course) which I had forgotten because I’m obviously not smarter than a 5th grader. And then I talk about my favorite time in American History, the Civil War and the Gettysburg Address.
Things are going well. We park relatively easily. Getting into the park goes smoothly. I’ve also purchased a bottle of all you can drink drinks for the year at the park. We start going to all the shows, and to Ghost Town because we are strange like that. It really was a history day.
I’m thinking that this is going swimmingly. My daughter wants to go to the Wild West Stunt Show. I’m thinking this should be great because it’s supposed to be a brand new show. Instead, I should have thought to knock on all the wood in Ghost Town and I’m still not sure if it would have fixed the problem.
My daughter wanted to sit in the splash zone. If you have never been to an amusement park, the splash zone is the place you know you will get wet. But at Knott’s Berry Farm it means you get Sun, even on a day that reaches barely 68 degrees. (I realize the word barely here might offend people who get actual weather, but as I’m a California boy, I don’t.)
So sitting here after baking for 15 minutes we get splashed. But the splashing is like a taunt because it doesn’t happen again for another 15 minutes. The show is cute, and slightly different, with mostly the same stunts as before. And as we are leaving we both agree we want a cool drink, shade, and air conditioning. But Knott’s seems to be anti-airconditioning. Because California I guess. I suppose we aren’t Arizona and it wasn’t exactly a hot day but . . .
So we go to use the meal plan at a place we can get shakes and that I hope has air conditioning. (It doesn’t.) We get in line for food as I notice the flush in my daughter’s cheeks and her need to sit down. Could there be any available tables? Well… what can I say? Just call me Murphy.
Right now I’m going to interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to say a shout out now to whatever family gave up their booth for my daughter to sit down in. It was gracious of you. Thank you, whoever you are.
We eat our food and decide to do more cool things from here on out. This includes walking and window shopping as well as being in a school play of Robin Hood (my daughter was Robin Hood with a fetching Maid Marion). And finally, it meant Big Foot Rapids … when it had started to get cold. Big Foot Rapids, the ride that has signs stating: “You will get wet. You may get drenched.” Perfect!
The line wasn’t too long but the temperature was falling rapidly so as we were getting splashed, it was 15 degrees cooler than it had been when we entered the line. Hence the water that was splashing on us was refreshing, for Polar Bears.
Thankfully my daughter avoided most of the water. I cannot say the same for myself. But we made it through. And with a little more wasting time at the schoolhouse we made it to Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.
Who is Krazy Kirk you ask? Krazy Kirk is a bluegrass band with a ton of talent and a dash of comedy. Maybe a little more than a dash. And on a cool evening like this, it was a packed house inside the Bird Cage theater. They gave one of their typical amazing shows and we left the park.
So the weekend was perfect. Almost perfect. A little imperfect. You are complaining that I skipped something and that the ending was rushed? I guess you will have to come back tomorrow as I finish the tale. This is me, signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life
Links to the wild and crazy weekend: