Friday, Feb. 08, 2013
Stacey Hatton - Just another Groundhog Day
By STACEY HATTON
Special to The Star
I suppose it would be polite to say I hope everyone had a happy Groundhog’s Day since some Pennsylvania Dutch prankster back in the 1800s considered it a gas to have a league of men decked in top hats and bowties ask a chubby rodent to predict their upcoming weather every February.
Who would have thought that kind of hijinks would have caught on?
Now I’ve never attended one of these Punxsutawney, Pa., shindigs so I probably should keep my friendly trapper shut, but why should I start now? Prognosticating Pennsylvanian pudgy squirrels treated like royalty? Sounds like a dream job for my friend’s Aunt Eunie, the retired meteorologist from Pittsburgh. However, I heard she is now selling used cars, so it might not be her gig.
Since the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow when he left his hidy-hole last weekend, there’s a fair chance spring will come early. According to the Stormfax Weather Almanac, “Phil’s winter prognostications have been correct only 39 percent of the time” since 1887, with nine years of no recordings.
Boy, for a future-telling groundhog, he’s pretty good! I like to think that 39 percent of my parenting advice is valid. If my kids catch at least that much, and it happens to be positive role-modeling, they have a fair shot at the world. Really if my kids listened 39 percent of the time ever, it would be splendid, but a parent can dream, right?
Parenting often reminds me of the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day,” especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent. Each day tends to resemble the last, and then you go for hours without having an adult conversation before you realize you’ve talked to yourself incessantly and no one has answered you.
But not to worry, for when you put the children to sleep, you scratch your head and wonder if you accomplished anything in its entirety that day. Have I finished a project? Even one? I must have checked off something on my to-do list.
Well, at least you are still quick minded and haven’t lost it yet. You still remember how old you are, right? Or do you? Because about half the year in, you started thinking, “I’m going to be turning 38 soon.” And since you talk to yourself so much, you hear this voice repeating the age often, so by the time your birthday shows up, you can’t remember if you’re 38 or 39.
Every day is Groundhog Day at my house. The alarm goes off, I get dressed, find the coffee and find the children. Dress the children. A mass feeding occurs, coats go on, backpacks are stuffed, I raise my voice for the eighth time, put van in reverse and slowly back out of drive, making sure children are safely fastened in their seats. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Not that I would trade it for the world. I love being able to provide a stable routine for my children. This gives them comfort and a sense of constancy, which according to experts shows them I love them. Probably the raising my voice thing needs to be worked on, but we all have flaws.
To celebrate Groundhog Day, I checked off something on my to-do list, turned on my Seasonal Affective Disorder mood light, upped my dose of vitamin C and popped in the “Groundhog Day” DVD because chances of dreary were pretty high no matter what that rodent with a top hat claimed.
I also started a new Kansas City Ground-hog Day tradition: barbeque pork burgers! Maybe even with a bowtie pasta salad in Phil’s honor.