Saturday Surprise: creating a tradition in pandemic times

Saturday Surprise: creating a tradition in pandemic times

To state the obvious, shelter-in-place is wearing on me. I miss my friends. I am done exercising by myself. I yearn for hugs so much that I had a dream about embracing random people.

But every time I want to complain during this pandemic, I remind myself how truly good my life is.

As I write this, family members of George Floyd are planning a funeral. Not only was his death unjust and unnecessary, but he and his family will be robbed of a “normal” service, due to the coronavirus.

This past month, Ahmaud Arbery’s mom did not decorate his home with balloons or plan a Zoom call with family on his birthday. She mourned him. Others honored him by walking or running 2.23 miles.

Friends of ours have lost spouses and parents to COVID and non-COVID related illnesses. None of them have gotten to experience the full grieving process, surrounded by loved ones.

So, yeah: I’ll remove my complaint of “boredom” from the pity pile.

I live a privileged life in normal and pandemic times. Being bored is a first world, white person problem, and I own that completely. We’re combating this petty problem with a new family tradition: Saturday Surprise.

Saturday Surprise’s purpose is to give the kids something fun to start the weekend. Its purpose is NOT to add more clutter to my house or to give my kids more sugar. I don’t need any help where that’s concerned, thankyouverymuch.

My boys are eight, five, and two, so the gap can be tough in terms of an age-appropriate item that suits all three of them. The older two clearly let me know which were their favorite. Here are their rankings:

#7 Books. It’s no “surprise” that this one comes in last. But we’ve opened them almost every day since receiving them.

#6 Soccer trainer rebound net. “Wait. Now you expect me to PRACTICE???” Yes, child. That’s the idea. *sigh*

#5 Scooters. Man, all three of them love these. It pays to be the only grandchildren. Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!

#4 Spider web tree swing. This is the one that best fits the difference in age. The little guy enjoys gently swinging, and the older ones attempt to spin the other into a vomiting state.

#3 Dinosaur egg dig kit. WHOA. I did not foresee their excitement, but they were so into these. And I mean that literally: hatch these babies outside, because to get into them, it makes a huge mess. On the plus side, my husband and I sipped our morning coffee in peace.

#2 Trampoline. This has been our largest Saturday Surprise yet! Near-empty nester friends of ours offered their trampoline to us in December, and we declined. A few weeks into quarantine, we were relieved to hear that their kind offer was still on the table.

#1 Lego Incredibles game for the Xbox. I mean, who can compete with a video game?

These Saturday Surprises have brought a lot of joy (and several fights) to our shelter-in-place time at home. It’s a tradition that can be as big or small as we make it. When all the days roll together, and there’s not much differentiation, it’s nice to have something to look forward to.

In June, we kick off our focus on food. 2018 was our Ice Cream Adventure, 2019 was our Doughnut Hunt, and 2020 will be…

…French Fry Frenzy!!! 🙂 

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