fuck the fucking hines drive fucking lights display

just call me scrooge, I guess.  but you’d be cussing too if you had to go through what I went through with those damn lights.

so, we aren’t the brightest of crayons in the box.  we went on a Saturday night, three Saturdays before Christmas.  “who are all these people?”  I said aggressively, disgusted at the bumper to bumper line of cars that rounded the corner from warren ave onto merriman, where the entrance to the lights was located.  “don’t they have anything better to do on a Saturday night?!”  (this would be my parental rage coming out at anyone without kids who does “kid things” and gets in the way and delays the people with kids from doing stuff.  irrational and probably tinged with a  bit of jealousy, but in my opinion, these people could theoretically be out doing anything, so why are they jamming up the few kid activities I am able to do these days?  I mean, they couldn’t all have had kids in the car…could they?)  in any case, it was already 7:30 and bedtime is 8:30 for us, but we decided to stick it out.  we were gradually inching along and finally made it onto merriman, when our second mistake hit us.  we were coming from the south and had to make a left turn into the entrance whereas people were just pouring in non stop from the north where they made a right turn in and could even turn on red, those effers.  greg actually had to gun it to cut in front of someone from the other direction and she looked over at us like, “what’s your problem you crazy jerks?”  oh, maybe it’s that it’s taken us ten times as long as you to move through this line, lady.  (NOTE: if you ever do this light show, come at the entrance from the NORTH).  anyways, we finally made it in and the kids were still awake and it looked like we had just a little jaunt down the hill to go.  “take joel out of his car seat and hold him on your lap,” greg said, “he wants to see all the lights!”

part of the reason we even bothered to go this year is that joel has lately revealed a fascination bordering on obsession with Christmas lights and we thought it would be a cheap thrill to take him (for us!  yes, shamefully, when you’re a parent and you spend so much of your time seemingly at war with your young ones, you will sometimes do anything to have a positive experience with the kids).  whenever he sees them, he starts yelling, “SEEON!”  (see.  on.  he calls the lights “ons” and says he wants to see them and combines the two words into a new conjunction of the English language).  it’s freakin’ adorable and so needless to say, we seek out lights for him whenever we can.  ruth usually seems as though she could care less about the lights.  in any case, I appeased greg, even though I was secretly terrified that our ancient airbags would just deploy for no reason and instantly kill my son and I as my chair was already pushed way up due to joel’s big ass car seat behind me and with him on my lap, he was inches from the dashboard, and he started in with his lights cheering. ruth was none too pleased that her brother was in the front seat while she was still trapped in the lame back seat and we had a bit of screaming and fit throwing commence.  needless to say, at this point I was ready to get through these damn lights and go home and we could still salvage bedtime at a reasonable hour.  that’s when we realized that our line didn’t flow into the line going towards the booths, but was re-routed up hines drive in a big loop, with no end in sight.

well, I can be pretty normal at times, but in situations like that, the walls start closing in a bit and I start to show my true paranoid colors.  I started having a bit of a panic attack, thoughts of our untrustworthy airbag still plaguing me and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic with no exits in sight, and I started to feel like a trapped animal.  I don’t think I need to detail the ways in which the atmosphere inside the car was degrading.  ruth was still whining about the front seat/backseat disparity and joel was going crazy pushing every button he could lay his grubby little hands upon.  and the traffic was endless.  I started to get irrationally angry.

“who are all of these people?  what’s wrong with them?  don’t they know it’s the same every year??  and it’s not even that good to start with?”  oh, yeah, I was heavy channeling my mother and through her, her father, my grandpa, angry old Scottish man.  I was a heel.  a regular scrooge.  and there was no place to go to cool off.  “relax, mom,” greg said, “where’s your Christmas spirit?”  I looked at the clock and it was 9:45 by the time we made it to the booths where you pay.  “back in that line somewhere,” I said, then, “gun it, greg.  I’m not joking.  I’ve had to pee for an hour.”  everyone seemed to have the same idea and, right after handing over our five dollars admission, everyone seemed to just floor it through the lights.

I  admit, joel, and even ruth, really did enjoy the lights, it was the only saving grace of the entire experience.  finally my blood pressure started coming down a bit.  the lights are pretty lame, especially about the fifth time you’ve seen them, but to the kids, they were magical.  we finally made it home after getting stuck in another bottleneck to get out of the exit on warren avenue, and it was nearly 11pm.  joel had fallen asleep in the car, so that was at least a small gift from the universe.  ruth immediately parked herself in front of the heater for about ten minutes and, being back at home, and having everything turn out ok (no one died of airbag deployment trauma), I started to apologize like I do.  it’s always too little, too late, but I really did feel sorry for losing it and sort of half ruining the experience.  I’m at least a step above my mom in that way and ten steps above my grandpa (see?  every generation the Scottish rage decreases a bit.  that’s progress)

tip: if you live in metro Detroit and if you want to see the hines drive lights, DO NOT go on Saturday.  and, if you do, come from the NORTH for god’s sake.

stay tuned because Christmas is just getting started here, people.  you don’t wanna miss this.

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Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 4, and 7 living in the Lansing area of Michigan writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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