Lemonade Hangover

“Mom, I don’t feel good,” says my twelve-year-old son clutching his side. “Can you take my temperature?” I humor him by taking a reading but I know what ails him. He was unsupervised while we hosted a barbecue for seventy of my husband’s co-workers. “98.6, you’re not sick,” I assure him.

I ask him what he had to eat. “A pulled pork sandwich – long pause – and a lot of junk food,” he sheepishly confesses with a tiny smile. He was hoping his sickness was not his fault. Nice try. He has to answer for his condition which means that sadly, the sympathy well is dry. I give him a glass of water and send him to bed. “You’ll feel better in the morning,” I promise. Unbridled consumption is new territory for him and no doubt a teachable moment for me to carefully deliver tomorrow morning over a bowl of Cheerios.

Ten minutes later: “Mom, I don’t feel good,” calls my nine-year-old from the potty. Immediately a flashback resurfaces of his cute little face asking me a question while devouring a Hershey bar and chasing it with a cup of cider. Ouch, that amount of sugar was going to leave a mark and I quickly shut him down. Too late. His bathroom confessions revealed that like his brother, he too had eaten a pulled pork sandwich – long pause – and four cans of lemonade! I offered him the same advise and tucked him into bed.

They both had kid-sized hangovers caused by an overdose of sugar and salt. We’ve all been there and, with Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, we’ll do it again. Time heals all wounds and we’ll succumb to seasonal amnesia vowing to ‘never do that again’. Our memories and photos betray us annually by capturing all of the joy and none the ache of excess.

Both boys slept it off like champs and arrived at breakfast in decent form. “How are you feeling this morning?” I inquire. They are fine of course. Now’s my chance to parent. “Do you remember how you felt last night?” Groans. “There’s a reason why parents say no. Too much of anything is not good. How about this for a thought… just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Did they hear me? Are they listening? Do they know the stakes get higher. This is important stuff here! Please remember this I pray.

Photos will remind us that the party was a blast. We all had a great time and remained and good form. The kids will remember pulled pork, s’mores, soda and limited parental supervision. It was a great night and, belly-aches be damned, you can bet they’ll do it all again next year.

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