By: Mary Fran Bontempo

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super bowlThere was a time when I would have had a different answer to the question.

Last Sunday was the Super Bowl, and though it wasn’t exactly “Super” for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos (it was actually a total train wreck), most football fans spent the day and night in full party mode.

I was not one of them.

Earlier in the day on Sunday, I found myself (along with around 300 of my closest neighbors) at the supermarket, stocking up on essentials while everyone else stocked up on junk for the evening’s game. While waiting at the checkout, I ran into the father of my daughter’s friend. After exchanging updates (and heavy sighs) over our families’ latest adventures, Harry said, “So what are you doing for the game tonight?”

I just stared at him, mute.

He looked back with a rueful grin. “Just trying to survive, huh?”

There was a time when occasions like the Super Bowl did indeed merit a party, either at my house or at the home of a friend. We’d plan a get-together weeks in advance, clear schedules, pile the kids into the car or prepare for an influx of friends’ kids, and we’d party. Lots of food, lots of drink, lots of fun for all.

I’m not sure when those gatherings became obsolete in my circle, but they are. Now, most of my friends, us included, are more than content to grab a bag of chips and a bottle of water and plop our padded bums on the couch, clothed in sweats and wrapped in a fuzzy blankie, while we zone out on commercials and the half-time show. (And may I say, “Well done, Bruno Mars.”)

Socializing sounds like fun, but the effort to pull it off is just too much, given life’s current constraints.

Most of us, although freed from the minute-to-minute cares of children, are now managing parents, which is a lot harder. You can’t stick them in a crib or playpen and let them cry themselves to sleep, for one, even though you’d really, really like to. I think there are laws against that kind of thing.

Parents require help with all of the stuff you still have to do at your own home, which means some of us are essentially running two or three households, stocking groceries, helping with finances, doctor’s appointments, cleaning, personal care, etc., etc. If a parent falls ill, well, things can get really ugly really fast.

And of course, the kids are grown, but that’s a relative term. We’re still doing for them, worrying over them, “helping” them, whether they want it or not.

Add it all together and yes, Harry, I am just trying to survive.

I know it won’t always be like this, but for now, the couch sounds just fine. I can see the half-time show pretty well from the couch. Plus, I can get to bed early. I think we have at least one doctor’s appointment and a hospital visit tomorrow. As for a Super Bowl party, well, there’s always next year.

How did you spend the Super Bowl? Click “comments” below and share!