This is the FIFTH (5th!) year in which I bow my head in gratitude to some cool parents who post among us on social media. You goofy procreators know who you are. If you're funny, chances are high that having kids may have even improved your sense of humor. These are the parents I want to befriend -- or, in some cases, am luck enough to already know. I feel pretty fortunate that many of my own parent friends consistently entertain me with their updates, and I've increasingly taken screenshots of my newsfeed (in a good way) over the years as more of my friends have "crossed to the other side."
You never know what's going to happen to your Facebook friends when they have kids, though. Some people are already so self-absorbed before they have kids, you feel prepared for them to post a picture of their baby's umbilical cord. Others turn into the worst, most self-righteous versions of themselves they can be and subsequently scare everyone they know. "Am I next??", we ask ourselves while staring into the abyss. I can think of at least three people who I could go the rest of my life never seeing again, simply because I feel like retiring to a dark cave every time they post a new long-winded dedication (or, in some cases, video montage) to parenthood on Facebook. No, thank you.
But I digress. This is the FIFTH year in which I'm giving thanks to funny parents, and this year I want to say thanks to some friends from my personal newsfeed. I've posted several Mom's Gold Star updates written by friends before, but I've never dedicated a whole column to them. It's time for me to acknowledge that it would be very difficult to have anything to balance against the crazy submissions I receive if I didn't have some great, funny status updates mingling in my own newsfeed. Some of the funniest parents I know are people I've never even met in real life, but who I've known online for several years. One of them, my friend Claire, was one of my first Facebook friends to get a Gold Star, and it happened to be on Thanksgiving three years ago. She caught a lot of shit from people who insisted that her baby could've tumbled off the bed, but I'm happy to report that Claire's kid is alive and doing well, and she's since had a second kid, too!
Aw, just look at that face! My point is this: Without these people (and several others, since a giant portion of my 'Friends' network has kids now), my newsfeed would actually be less enjoyable, which means that by having kids, these friends of mine have contributed something measurably good to my life. Sure, I'll always hate myself at least 34% more each time I spend long stretches of time on social media, but it's nice to know there are some people whose updates make checking in worthwhile. If you have a parent friend in your newsfeed whose parenting-related updates always amuse rather than disgruntle you, perhaps now is a good time to tell them? 'Tis the season for giving thanks, after all! Also, if you have a friend who posts images like this one below, I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you, it's kind of weird when parents flash their baby's genitalia, is it not?
Mmmm. Eat up those butter-slathered baby rolls before digging into your Thanksgiving turkey! Quick question, though: Would you rather accidentally have your friend's baby's genitals sprung in your face online, OR would you rather contemplate your friend's husband taking his beer-in-hand post-"Thanksgiving poop"?
Just in case you were wondering if Ashlie overshares about her kid's bathroom habits, too -- wonder no more:
Do you see what I'm saying about valuing the funny parents? They're vital to the entire operation. Let's check out some of the status updates that I'm thankful for this year, mined from my own newsfeed.
Chris is an old friend and one of the stay-at-home dads in my newsfeed. His daughters are just the right amount of adorable and precocious, which he will occasionally detail in short conversations like this on Facebook. Some parents are prone to posting back-and-forth exchanges that make my eyes bleed. Thankfully, Chris doesn't do that.
Dana also wrote the status update above about Black Friday. She's a no-bullshit parent-of-two who would make a cruel yet well-respected New England prep school headmaster. Thanks for fictionally torturing your kids and telling us about it, Dana! A lot of parents have made the "haha, who wants my kids? I'm putting them up for sale on Craigslist!" jokes, but Dana's actually make me laugh out loud.
This goes hand-in-hand with that random study about how the most beautiful word in the English language to non-English speakers is "gonorrhea." I suppose the word "ebola" could be beautiful if I didn't already associate it with fatal illness, considering it's still being traced to dying west Africans to this day. That said, I appreciate how clueless a child has to be to make a necklace that spells out a word with craft beads that's synonymous with death. Funnily enough, Jessica is the same mom whose son came up with the marvelous cat name suggestions 'Flesh Ripper' and 'Rancor' last year, so maybe a unique grasp on language runs in the family.
What could be more humbling than a child asking if ribs are vegetables? In that moment, a parent like Matt is truly aware of his influence over his young daughter's malleable brain. He could've told her anything. He could've told her that ribs are the healthiest, tenderest vegetable of all, like I'll continue to believe. But then he wouldn't be doing his job. He knows where to draw the line with his kid, but his updates don't suck in the Facebook retelling. Thanks, Matt.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present former Mommyish editor Eve Vawter?! She's long been the recipient of a Mom's Gold Star award in my heart, but this status update secured her a place in this Thanksgiving column, too. Eve can take any cultural trend, meme, or Rihanna song and make it her own. Her status updates are precious gems in an endless scroll of gravel, and for that, I am grateful. Thanks, Eve!
Damn. When I was this kid's age, I was lucky if I got to go to SciTrek, a science museum in Atlanta that closed in 2005, and patiently wait my turn to touch a plasma globe. Melissa's kid looks like he's participating in some kind of 'Fear Factor' challenge in either a highly controlled, school-approved stunt double learning facility OR inside a child serial killer's demented obstacle course in a warehouse 100 miles from civilization. In other words, I'm jealous of whatever Melissa's kid did on this field trip. Thanks for showing Facebook what your son is up to, Melissa. Normally when people do that, it involves something painfully boring like a picture of their kid's report card, but nope, not this time.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!