Life Deconstructed: Traditional ridiculousness involving Pop Tarts and love

Life Deconstructed - Maria Jiunta Heck

I perused an article today that was encouraging readers to keep traditions alive; supposedly making families closer. Huh. I thought that was the ATM card. I usually don’t read this drivel, but I was on the throne and had nothing else to read, besides the back of the Preparation H box.

These suggestions promise to keep our families intact!

For birthdays, go beyond birthday cake

What does this mean? Does it mean I have to serve something other than a birthday cake, like a loaf of bread, or jump out of a birthday cake? Because no one wants to see that tragedy. Here’s what I decide they mean: buy a Little Debbie Swiss Roll, stick a candle in it and call it a tradition. Beyond cake. Done.

Make memorable bedtime rituals

With or without Nyquil? The author tells me that no matter how old my kids are, this is the perfect time to reconnect. OK, well after I waded through the dumpster that’s my son’s bedroom, and waved my hands animatedly to get his attention away from his Xbox, and then screamed into his headphone-clad ears to tell him goodnight and I love him, he returned my heartfelt sentiment with: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Close the door on your way out, will ya toots?” When I called my other son at college to say goodnight, he couldn’t hear me over the bongos and beer pong tournament. And when I dialed my daughter, she groaned: “Ugh! I have to get up in three hours for work, Mom! Who died?” I guess my bedtime ritual has died.

Feed your family’s soul

Apparently, “food evokes positive feelings and connects generations.” Well, I don’t need help on this front. If you talk to my children about the Power Rangers-shaped macaroni and cheese I fed them in their younger days, they get all misty-eyed and nostalgic. Same goes for the memories of the squirty cheese product on a Triscuit. And nothing connects generations quite like Pop Tarts. And I mean nothing.

Be playful together

I tried instituting Family Game Night but all anyone wanted to do was play Family Netflix Night. Ummm, even me. Netflix is playing re-runs of “Breaking Bad.” It ain’t Monopoly, but stories of crystal meth production bonds us as a family.

Be silly

Oh, dear God. The author encourages “zaniness.” How about this for zany: Let’s everyone pick up their underwear from their bedroom floors? How about scooping the poop from the yard, or for a truly wacky ritual, let’s play “whoever finds the remote control wins the Pop Tart” game. This is stupid.

Try home remedies

Oh … dicey. Is she talking about the catnip and fennel my mother tossed down my throat to combat colic? When I was 16? Because I’m pretty certain that’s now illegal. Gargle with hydrogen peroxide for a sore throat? That sounds wrong. And gross. How about castor oil to cure constipation? As an added bonus, it also cleans brass! Hopefully, not simultaneously. Home remedies are borderline CPS non-approved.

Maria’s recipe

I honestly love my kids. I love them every, single day and twice on days when they are despicable and I want to lock them in the linen closet. Each day that passed and no one was maimed, ran away or called 911 counts as an enormous success. No child ever lost a limb while scootering down a ramp and into the street. No child arrested (yet). No child had visible bite marks courtesy of another child. Awesome. Everyone is happy, healthy and alive. Grab me a Triscuit! Life is good. Color me connected.

Life Deconstructed

Maria Jiunta Heck

Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at

Maria Jiunta Heck of West Pittston is a mother of three, a librarian and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at

comments powered by Disqus