I shouldn't have opened it. An e-mail with a subject line that reads "We Are Crazy" obviously needs to be deleted. But it's a teacher workday, the kids are restless, and while this is probably some pitch to do something I don't want to do, it's probably better than doing nothing at all.
"We're taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese's, you in?" it reads.
Well, there's crazy, and then there's certifiable. I went to Chuck E. Cheese once, and it was like being in some weird Tim Burton movie - a foggy montage of kids and music, lights and tokens, videos and singing mice.
Please be a joke, please be a joke, please be a joke.
It's not a joke. And I don't have Valium. So I'm not sure where that leaves me. Part of me wants them to go sell crazy someplace else. But I also feel like if these moms are willing to do this for their kids, shouldn't I?
And make no mistake, this is definitely for the kids. It's the ultimate sacrifice, right up there with riding the new roller coaster at Carowinds. There's nothing in it for Mom.
I tell the kids to listen up, take a picture, and document this day in their diaries. Mommy's taking you to Chuck E. Cheese. We all scream. Some with delight (them) and some in horror (me). And then, something completely unexpected:
"You're the greatest Mommy in the whole, wide world!" they croon.
Really? Moi? Naw ... Say it again. And suddenly I'm showered with hugs, kisses and for two seconds I wonder if the announcement was enough, and maybe I don't really have to go.
The Husband calls and I tell him we're headed to Chuck E. Cheese. He asks me why, then if I'm sure, then if I'm sure I'm OK. But then tells me he's proud of me. Wow - there may be something to this.
I tell a neighbor and she tells me I'm nuts, asks if I hit my head, but then... wait for it...
"You're a better woman than me," she declares.
Maybe there IS something in it for me. My kids think I'm great, my husband thinks I'm cool, and my friends think I'm Mother of The Year. I actually start calling people just to tell them what I'm doing - adding lines like "what mother wouldn't do this for her children" just to hear people tell me how incredible I am. I'm telling you, I'm giddy.
And so for two hours I get to erase all that doubt I've been carrying around for seven years, wondering if I'm a good Mom. Yes, I am. Because I'm here, handing out tokens and eating pizza with Chuck E. Cheese and Tim Burton.
I never thought I'd say this, but: I love you, Chuck E. Happy Valentine's Day.