I have three kids, two of whom are under 3 years old. This means that whenever we go anywhere, I have to have a few things on deck: diapers, wipes, a first-aid kit of some sort, snacks and water or juice. You can get away with water for a while, but once your little ones taste that sweet nectar of concentrate, all you’ll hear from then on is “I WAN’ JUICE!”
Parenting, man. It’s the business.
Now, I have a fairly boss diaper bag that has all the pockets and several compartments in odd places that aren’t handy until they’re super handy. Mommy though? Mommy throws stuff in her purse. It’s why she gets very nice but big-as-hell tote purses. They can fit everything! I’m talking snack cups, diapers, juice boxes, changes of clothes, etc.
My parents can feel me on this one. Stop any parent on the street or basically anywhere — church, IKEA, BBD concert, etc. — and I’m sure you’ll find a person stocked up like a CVS. You get so used to parenting that even when your kids aren’t with you, there are things you just have instinctually. In my bag right now, I have some Goldfish snacks, and I’m not sure why — but I have them, just in case. I shall eat them myself.
So it was no surprise but also a little bit awesome to see Blue Ivy munching on what looked to be fruit snacks while mom Yoncé held on to the juice box and an extra fruit-snack pouch, just in case. Listen — for those of you who are not parents yet, let me explain something to you about children under the age of, say, 8 who want stuff:
They don’t care about where they are or who you are or why you’re there. When they want something, they want it, and they are going to let you know loudly and frequently.
Some kids? They learn early on about “time and place.” Other kids know that lesson but ain’t nothing worse than being hungry and bored. It’s the same thing as being “hangry” except when you’re 6, being bored is the ultimate in “Why is this my life?!” For whatever reason, snacks and juice typically shut kids up for a while as they happily munch away on whatever it is you decided to bring, from pita chips to Cheerios, temporarily satisfied with life.
I imagine for a show as long as the Grammys were — and, good Lord, were they long — that Beyoncé’s bag was full of an assortment of amazing snack treats. And juice boxes. I’d also bet money that while Blue Ivy has clearly done this before, they have conversations about whether or not to bring her along. My guess is that because her daddy was up for several awards, she got to go.
While clearly the lives of folks like Jay and Beyoncé are far beyond most of us, it’s those moments that let you know that, though fame and fortune may separate us, they deal with a lot of same things we all do on a daily basis. Relationships have the same ups and downs and worries about money (at varying degrees, of course), and the joys of parenting — the simplest parts — are the same for us all. I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet Jay and Bey change diapers for their twins, and I imagine they’ve had to deal with the hilarity of a kid peeing after you remove the diaper or the kid taking a diaper off and running down the hall as you chase them in an attempt to get to them before they squat.
Or having to wake up at the crack of dawn because your child has decided that it’s 6 a.m. and they are ready to “eat eat” even though Jesus himself is like, “Naw bro. I need 30 more minutes.” Kids don’t care about celebrity; they care about themselves in the sometimes cutest ways possible. Parenting is parenting no matter how rich or poor you are; the difference is the ease and stress in which the parenting happens.
Fruit snacks over everything, though.
Panama Jackson is the senior editor of Very Smart Brothas, a vertical of The Root, where the column was originally published.