i need the force

Let me take you inside the journey of a mom who wanted to treat her nerdy Star Wars-crazed children to an afternoon of fun on May the 4th, which any respectable Star Wars fan (do they have a name for themselves, by the way, like Trekkies?) knows is national--or perhaps international--Star Wars day.

Immediately after picking up the children from school this afternoon, we headed over to our local vegan ice cream joint (because who doesn't love vegan ice cream when it's sunny and 84 in Austin?) and then on to the public library for its Star Wars Day celebration. While images of Star Wars-shaped cookies and a library filled with characters danced in the children's heads, the reality of a Star Wars party held at your local public library did not live up to the hype.

Instead of Chewbacca or some other equally charming character greeting us at the door, we were shuffled into a small, carpeted florescent-lit room where 50 other children, in various iterations of Star Wars garb, were already crowded around folding tables littered with the makings of do-it-yourself Star Wars crafts. There was a "Make Your Own Light Saber" table along with "Build a Droid." There was also a Darth Vader puzzle that, when complete, would reveal the secret hiding place of a secret prize. If all this sounds like fun, then I'm painting a picture that is too flattering.

This party was not fun. My children told me so. It was "boring" and there was "nothing to do." There weren't any of the cookies that Catcher had promised himself in his head. There weren't life-sized photographs of Star Wars characters lining the library walls, as Scout had imagined. There wasn't even a Star Wars character scavenger hunt like Tillie thought there would be. Instead there were a bunch of other children using up all the supplies for making your own light saber and taking up all the slots in the Jedi competition games. The horror!

All of this commotion brought each of my three children to tears--for his or her own reasons--as we were crowded in that little room with stinky kids and weird parents who had actually dressed themselves as Star Wars characters. After Catcher yelled at me because his name was allegedly skipped in the Jedi competition order, I made the executive decision that it was time to cut our losses and get the heck out of dodge. This did not go over well with my comrades. Now instead of being cramped inside a poorly lit room in the public library, I found myself walking through the library with three crying, screaming children and Scout throwing her light saber at the glass entry door (don't stress: it was made of foam; the organizers must have seen this type of resistance coming).

When we finally made it to the car, after cries of everything being my fault and a round or two of "You're the worst mom in the universe," Catcher ripped apart his own light saber with his bare hands (remember, just foam here) and proceeded to yell at the girls the entire way home because, ironically, they were crying and he wanted them to be quiet. I think this will go down as one of my most unpleasant car driving experiences ever. Honestly, I'm just happy we made it home without getting in an accident. It is very distracting having three children trying to out-scream one another in the car. And believe it or not, I don't think this story captures even half of the real-life turmoil. Don't let these sweet faces fool you.

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