Playing Hooky

Playing Hooky

I have a lot of adult nerdy friends who take personal days from work or schedule vacation time around midnight showings, release dates of video games, and the like. The final Harry Potter book drops at Midnight? Go get dinner with friends, stand in line for a few hours, then go home with some coffee and read the book in one sitting, enjoying your glorious vacation time and the memories you made. Some of my adult nerd friends have kids who are following in their footsteps, and have had to ask themselves hard questions about supporting child nerdery.

Me, I made my decision while waiting in a long snaking line for the first midnight showing of the first “Lord of The Rings” movie with friends. There was a lot of banter, among strangers, about the books and the Silmarilion and the early rotoscoped cartoon. There were a few kids there as well.

I should step back a bit further. Apologies for this very non-linear post.

Nesko is a huge Tolkein nerd and re-reads “The Lord of the Rings” at least once a year. When we were first dating, it was one of the many things we had common ground in. I have extremely fond memories of my mom (who has a learning disability and doesn’t normally read for FUN although she loves stories) reading LotR to me chapter by chapter at bedtime as a kid. Nesko and I broke up for about a year, for REASONS, and it was good that we did. But during our break media buzz for LotR started and I kept thinking about Nesko and how much he loved those movies and how it wouldn’t be the same, watching them without him. And then 9-11 happened and I realized I didn’t want to live in a world without him, and I called him, and we decided to be friends. Taking it very slowly we ultimately decided to try dating again, and it was successful. I don’t remember if we were in the “dating again” phase or not when we stood in line discussing LotR trivia. But it was a special time, with special friends, and I’ll always remember it as something important.

Midnight showings are something special, something out of the ordinary. They’re a special occasion, a moment better remembered for their rarity.

I don’t think they should be preserved for adults only.

By which I mean, when Niko is old enough, I have no problem with escorting him to late night functions on a school night if he’s in a good place academically. What do I mean by “a good place academically”? I mean he’s trying very hard at school, up to date with his school work, and not having disciplinary problems.

I know people, including some family members, who really disagree. Kids need to be in school! School is important! They can skive off work when they’re adults and have PTO to spend!

Except what if he winds up working a job where he doesn’t get PTO, he can’t afford to take time off? Which, honestly, is where Nesko and I have been for most of our adult lives.

I have a lot of regrets about my youth. Some of them have to do with applying myself more and working harder, but most of them are about being too serious. I wish I’d known how to take myself less seriously, how to have fun more. Like a lot of people, I was told to wait until I was out of college and in “the real world” to take vacations or have fun. Well, I’m 34, and the only vacations I’ve had since I was 18 were a road trip to Texas in January several years ago and a family reunion in Indiana this summer. Adults have more responsibilities and more  places their money needs to be. I wish I’d gotten more piercings and dyed my hair more colors and had more fun during the time when it was acceptable to do so. Now when I think of getting another piercing, I’m quickly reminded of all the better uses my money could be put to (new couch! new shoes! new kitchen! DENTAL WORK!).

I know that Niko’s going to grow up and disagree with a lot of our parenting choices, and probably regret and/or resent some of them. That’s how parenting works! But I’d like to give him as much joy as possible, and teach him that the entire world doesn’t rest on his shoulders and it’s ok to take time for himself sometimes.

Where do you stand?

If you have kids, would you let them take time off school to do special things?

What rules would you set up about this?


2 Responses

  1. What an interesting topic to consider and you make an excellent point. I think I would allow my kids to play hooky for a special event. As a FT working mom getting any kind of special time with them is precious and if we both have to ditch our regular duties then so be it.

    Plus, I sincerely doubt that when I am long gone Calder and Wren would be like, hey remember that time we had perfect attendance for a whole school year?

  2. i think as long as milo isnt struggling in school, i would defintely be up for things like this. sharing in these kinds of experiences are definitely great bonding experiences – and i love when things that were important to us in our youth – get to have that same effect on our kids in their youth….We recently took milo to riot fest and im sure people were like “what is a kid doing at a punk rock show?” but we HAD A BLAST and i loved sharing something that was so important to us with him!