Parents look for wisdom from other parents who’ve been Already through the parenting trenches. Some Seek insight from playdates or Facebook groups, and some of us get ours from movies. I generally rely on the many nuggets of truth found in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
I’m nothing if not Clark Griswold, requesting a drumroll as I hold electrical cords and try to create awesome memories for my kids. Sometimes I hit a home run, sometimes I fall flat. But I always keep trying.
Here are 10 “National Lampoon Christmas Vacation” quotes that get me through:
“The shitter was full!”
This is not one I utter very loudly. Usually. But it rings loud and true every time one of my three kids plow through the bathroom door while another family member is on the toilet.
As they stumble around with their pants at their ankles to find another bathroom in the house, I quietly whisper to myself those perfect words of explanation. And if I get shade from an onlooker when they see my kid peeing on a tree, or in the Costco parking lot, I embody the same blissful ignorance as Cousin Eddie. “The shitter was full!”
“Fixed the newel post!”
Whenever I tape or glue a toy back together, I feel a sense of accomplishment. My kids return to play and I don’t need to hear them ask me to buy something new.
But after gluing a truck’s tire on for the 19th time, and realizing that a 20th time is not in the cards, I feel the same sense of pride and relief as a chainsaw wielding Clark as I throw the three wheeled beater in the trash and shout, “Fixed the newel post!”
“Clark, Audrey’s frozen from the waist down.”
My kids are really good at complaining. They complain when they’re mad, sad, and even happy. They’ve been known to complain when there’s nothing to complain about. I’ve tried reasoning, teaching gratitude, and ignoring them.
But sometimes, the only thing that tunes out their tiny grumbles is looking at my partner and saying, “Clark, Audrey’s frozen from the waist down.” And if we’re in sync, she’ll remind me that it’s all part of the experience.
“If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.”
My kids’ motivation comes from a place of innocence and a desire to please (most of the time), but I cringe inside when they say, “Mama! Close your eyes, I want to show you something!”
For starters, they want me to close my eyes immediately, even if it means dragging me from the first floor living room to their second floor bedroom. Bumping my way up the stairs with my eyes closed is made worse by the scenarios floating in my mind.
From a bedroom cleaned with the dog’s hairbrush, to every book and toy removed from their shelves to make a fort resembling the makings of a shantytown, I dread the possibilities. So when they grin at me with hopeful longing and ask if I am surprised, I don’t want to burst their bubble. I say this instead:
“It’s good. It’s good.”
From that first sip of morning coffee to the last drop of evening beer, parenting has made me appreciate the finest liquids in life.
“Let’s burn some dust here. Eat my rubber.”
My partner and I have always had our best fights in the car. Add the stress of three kids all needing different things at very inconvenient times and you have the perfect recipe for divorce.
Thankfully, we’ve found ways to combat road trip drama with our kids thanks to a little humor from Clark Griswold. Don’t take it personally if a blue minivan passes you on the highway, or zips by you to get a parking spot near the front of a rest stop, restaurant, or liquor store. I just need to reach my destination before the sound of my children creates irreparable damage to my nervous system.
“Save the neck for me, Clark.”
Every time I cook a turkey or chicken, my partner leans over my shoulder and whispers this gem. It’s an inside joke shared between us and the millions of other people in love with “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” but one not understood by our children.
It’s a reminder that before we were parents, we were people with time to watch movies and energy to memorize their lines. It’s a reminder that our humor is still intact, and even if our poultry goes up in a ball of smoke, we will still have each other.
“Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?”
Yeah. As parents we lose it from time to time.
But give yourself a break if a long day of whiny and demanding children who have only eaten strawberries dipped in ketchup pushes you to the edge of sanity. It’s natural. And it only makes sense to nurse that headache with some old fashioned, over-the-counter drugs.
“Bend over and I’ll show ya.”
This one I mutter only to myself. But when one of my kids is walking toward me with an armful of their 93 favorite possessions, crying that they don’t know where to put them before they all fall to the ground, my mind always goes to this scene in Christmas Vacation.
“It’s a beaut, Clark! It’s a beaut!”
Parenting is no joke. It’s hard. But along the way, there are so many beautiful moments. The garage is finally clean. The homemade birthday cake is frosted. The laundry is folded and put away. The kids are snuggled next to me and my partner for family movie night. We look at each other and say this.