Skillman CDC lineAt 2:52 p.m., 25 parents were on Annamari Lannon’s list.

Lannon arrived at Skillman Church of Christ at 6 a.m. this morning to be the first in line. The line — which will continue growing all night and into the wee hours of the morning — is for parents hoping to snag a spot for their toddlers and preschoolers at the church’s Child Development Center.

Camping out on the center’s doorstep has become an annual tradition, with the parents coming earlier and the line growing longer each year. Two years ago, they waited all night in a snowstorm. (Read this post for an accounting of that experience, and an idea of what these parents can look forward to tonight, sans the snow and freezing temperatures.)

“I remember the snowstorm,” Lannon told us. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m not going to do that.’ ”

But two years later, with a 2-year-old and another one on the way, she is singing a different tune. This morning, she brought along a balloon bouquet so that parents would know where the line starts, and a clipboard to write down the order in which they arrived. (Reports are that last year a couple of dads wound up in a fist fight, so kudos to Lannon for her attempt to keep everyone civil.)

The parents seemed a bit sheepish about the fact that they were planning to sit in folding chairs in a church parking lot all night so their 2-year-olds could attend a mother’s day out program two or three days a week for roughly five hours at a time. A trio of fathers refused to give us their names for fear of being quoted, but were in good spirits about the all-nighter, planning to grill and play a little football. A few mothers had their toddlers in tow, and said their husbands would be bringing tents to relieve them for the night shift.

“Don’t make us look crazy,” one of them pleaded. In the suburbs, parents might find a camp out to secure a mother’s day out spot outrageous, she said, “but this is Dallas.” And more specifically, this is East Dallas. In fact, Skillman Church of Christ’s camp out isn’t the only one in our neighborhood this week — talk among the group was that roughly 65 parents were in line at Wilshire Baptist Monday morning for a spot in its early childhood learning center.

“To some, it seems absolutely crazy,” Lannon said, and she used to count herself in that category. But, “you never know until you have a child.”

Below, don’t miss photography editor Can Turkyilmaz’s video of “the line” earlier this afternoon. Share your stories and photos of mother’s day out all-nighters with kmitchell@advocatemag.com.


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