Last year, I deterred from my usual Thanksgiving round-up of Gold Star (aka funny) submissions in order to talk trash about all of those "30 Days Of Thankful" updates, which were embraced by hoards of well-intentioned parents on Facebook. Man, am I glad that fad slowed down this year. I guess you could say that I'm thankful that only a small percentage of people told their newsfeeds precisely how they thankful they were every day for a month straight. To show my gratitude, I'm resuming my Thanksgiving tradition of being genuinely thankful for all the parents who are doing social media right. Receiving Gold Star submissions is like a light at the end of the toilet for me sometimes, as I might get five submissions in a row with email subjects like 'Poo pic -- CAN'T UNSEE' and 'Poop and vomit, sorry!' But somewhere amidst that stink pile, a shiny Gold Star submission can be found sandwiched between the nastiness, and I know that it's going to make me laugh instead of shudder. For this, I stand (no, sit, casually, in my pajamas) in modest appreciation.
What is it that compels some parents to post about bodily fluids and others to turn their parenting lives into hilarious snippets of humor? I have no idea. But I don't think it's typical for individual parents to post about both. You're either a "Cool Mom" (in the best sense), or you're someone who revels in bloody tooth socket photography, in my experience. Which is why it's so important that I occasionally press pause on the criticism and make room for the praise. There are some fucking funny parents on social media, and it's important to acknowledge them. We're not laughing at them, we're laughing with them, and it's refreshing.
I'd also like to add that I'm thankful to all of you Mommyish readers. It's a privilege to write here each week and dive into whatever topical story is blowing up everyone's newsfeeds (like moms punching each other in parking lots) or rant about a social media trend that drives me crazy (like parentsplaining and gender reveal parties). Thanks for following along and writing such thoughtful (and/or psychotically aggressive) comments and engaging in great debates. You guys make the columns better, and I'm motivated each week to dig through my files to try to put together something entertaining. With that in mind, here are some my current favorite Gold Star submissions, and I hope everyone has a relaxing Thanksgiving! Don't forget the porn gravy. Or the cranberry sauce. Oh god, I hope you guys don't click on the cranberry sauce. Let's get to laughing, shall we?
1. Art Appreciation
I happen to think that a lot of kids' art is hilarious, imaginative, and inspiring. That doesn't mean most kids aren't producing total crap on a near-daily basis, and moms and dads have to put all that crap somewhere. Select parents will frame the artworks and make expansive galleries on their living room walls. They'll point to various pieces when friends are over and say things like, "Did you see Banjo's latest creations? He's really into working with chalk these days, but this series of crayon and marker abstracts is so full of whimsy, don't you think?"
And then, of course, there's everyone else. It's great when parents can have a sense of humor about the fact that their kids' art is only worth hanging onto every now and then. Everything else gets compressed in that great big recycling center in the sky, and most kids will never know the difference.
2. Novelist In The Making
The tortured novelist trope is unbearable when referenced without irony, but hysterical when put in this context. Evie is being a good mother, encouraging her child to eat a healthy bran muffin, while also being fully conscious of her own adulthood. She doesn't deprive herself of something delicious, OR feel any guilt about eating it in front of her daughter. She turned something totally banal into actual comedy. And now her daughter is going to grow up to be the most health-conscious, afflicted artist there ever was. Genius.
3. Keen Observations
Honestly, both of these sound like good options to me. Predatory dinosaurs might not have the best reputations in social settings, but they're assertive and independent. Ferrets can sleep up to 18 hours a day, and a group of ferrets is commonly referred to as a "business." I'd be proud to birth and raise either of these magnificent creatures, teeth and all.
4. The Best List Of Kitten Names Ever?
I love this list because it's such a wacky mix of normal pet names and death metal band names. Silent Death, Rancor, and Steel all have my vote -- but I could also get down with a kitten named "Schmaltz." Only a cool kid would conceive of a list like this, and only a cool mom would post it online and declare "Flesh Ripper" to be her favorite suggestion. I vastly prefer seeing lists like this to seeing boring images of report cards or potty charts.
5. Superhero Turkey Disguise
Finally, we have Turkey Batman. Is it a turkey? Is it a bat? Is it the most absurd and inventive way for a turkey to not become dinner? Yes, yes, and yes. And it has googly eyes, as all superheroes should. This turkey is poised to become a Feathered Crusader and fight for justice for all its turkey allies against knives, humans, and other sworn enemies. My intense love of post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches aside, I approve of this heroic escape strategy.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!