No Children Welcome At Stones River Mall

No Children Welcome At Stones River Mall

Why you shouldn't take your kids to Stones River mall in Murfreesboro.
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Rivergate Mall, Opry Mills, Cool Springs Mall and Stones River all have something in common other than clothing and perfume stores. They all have play areas for kids. While all of these malls share this common factor, not all designated play areas are treated equally. If you have ever been in Cool Springs Mall, you can hear the squeals of children all over the mall. The same thing goes for Opry Mills. They are happy places to be a kid. However, the same cannot be said for the Stones River Mall in Murfreesboro Tennessee. In fact, speaking from personal experience, the play area should be taken down completely.

A few months ago, a few moms from the local stay at home mom group, met up for a play date at the mall. Before this particular play date, we'd had several very successful play dates that lasted a few hours and sometimes we all got lunch afterwards. This had become a favorite play date for my daughters, especially because it was big enough for my oldest, yet small enough for my youngest. It was kind of a tradition to get a slice of pizza or Chinese before leaving the mall, so lunch and play was a great combo before nap time. We also would play before or after seeing Santa or the Easter Bunny.

Naturally, setting up a play date for similar aged kids made sense, and a few moms were saying they needed to shop while we were there, so why not give our business to a place where our kids can be kids, right? Wrong.

It was a few weeks before Easter, too humid outside, and a lot of us were going stir crazy from being kept indoors during the winter. No more than fifteen kids, most preschool and under, and maybe ten moms were present when a security guard came over and told the moms to make our kids be quiet or leave. At first, it was kind of shock factor because the kids weren't jumping around; most hadn't even taken their shoes off yet. On top of the children not acting disorderly, the security guard’s whole tone and attitude weren’t a professional authoritative one, but rather a bullying and demanding one.

I left a review about this experience on their Facebook page and did get a few responses from it. Turns out, there are moms who swear they'll never go back because the same thing happened to them. The marketing person for the mall did respond to my review saying that we should try one of their kid clubs or check out Chuck E. Cheese. Their exact wording was that it is "also a great, enclosed location for kids to act as kids do."

After my response of possibly tearing the play area down to not attract kids towards the area, I was messaged personally from a person in their marketing department, and offered tickets to Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and a free 5x7 print. While this might have been appetizing to some moms, I felt it wasn't enough because my kids weren't the only ones involved in this situation.

One mom, who wishes to not be named, had driven from Shelbyville Tennessee to meet up with a few moms and let her kids play. She had brought her oldest son, who has high functioning autism, prepared with books and school work to occupy him. While she was turned around trying to help her toddlers take their shoes off, a security guard asked her older son to leave the area immediately. Following orders, he did so. When the mom turned around, her son was nowhere to be found. Luckily he was not too far off, but things could have been much worse.

Since our said incident in March, things have continuously gotten worse. I am constantly seeing my news feed fill up with how Stones River isn't the place to be, or how the security guards have mocked the children. The only reason I have personally been back is because of a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese. Early last week, Susie King of Murfreesboro Tennessee, brought her two sons, six and four, to play at the play area after buying a lawn mower. She estimates that there were 12 to 15 children present, all small enough to play, and all playing very well. They were there for about five minutes before the manager of the mall came over and started shouting at the parents. The manager stated that, “you parents need to get your kid's noise levels under control.” Of course, five minutes after that incident, a security guard came over and told everyone to leave immediately because the play area needed to be cleaned. Before being escorted out of the mall by security, King told the manager of the mall that she would be contacting the mall ownership regarding what happened only to be told that the manager didn’t care.

Sound familiar? The exact same situation that happened to the local mom group only months prior, when all parents present would tell you that the kids were acting fine and at an acceptable noise level. The only difference in King’s experience and my experience is that we left before they could give us the transparent excuse that the play area needed to be cleaned. As a mental note and reminder to all parents in middle Tennessee, if you need to shop and have younger kids in tow, check out Stones River’s Facebook page before deciding to go there. Opt for Opry Mills or Cool Springs instead, they have better selections, upgraded space, and would love to have your children there.

Cover Image Credit: Jennifer Newkirk Haley

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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I Can Never Thank My Stepdad Enough For Everything

It's been three years without my stepdad, but I will never forget him.

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There are so many things I wish I could have shared with you, so many memories I wish I could have made with you, and so many inside jokes we will never get to share again. All I can do is thank you for everything you have done for me.

You were more than just a dad to me. You were the 'Bubba' to my 'Big Time.' But most importantly, you were my best friend.

You were the one who always said going to the movies after school was so much more important than homework, and to this day I still abide by these words of wisdom. I still remember all of our trips to the Amish market where we got a few too many candies, which became the cause of many unwanted trips to the dentist to treat my cavities.

I even remember those times you held on for dear life as you tried to teach me how to drive. You and Mom used to get so frustrated that I could not remember which pedal was the brake and which was the gas.

All of these days still cross my mind. I still chuckle every time you would let me go late to school so I could sleep a little longer. I wish that was still the case.

I wish you had seen me off to prom just so you could have warned me for the hundredth time to stay away from boys because they have cooties. I wish you could have seen me jump at championships my senior year, you would have been so proud at how much I listened to the pointers you gave me - and I even placed third! I wish you would have seen me cross that stage on graduation.

I know you may have gotten the best view from heaven, but sometimes that doesn't substitute the front row you would've got if you were there.

Despite all the things I wish you could have been at, I thank you for helping me get this far. You taught me some of life's irreplaceable lessons.

Sometimes I think I never got the chance to say goodbye on purpose. Maybe God knew my heart could not stand to see you go. Maybe I was meant to be on a track that day because it was the place where we shared a lot of our memories.

Everything happens for a reason, but somehow I think you coming into my life was one of those things I never thought I needed. You came into my life for a greater purpose than anyone, even I, could ever fathom. You brought tons of laughter, loudness, and even Skip-Bo into my life.

I hope every day that I never forget you. I pray every night that the memories never leave. I never thought I would lose my protector and my favorite person to lean on when some days were heavier than others or a laugh was just needed to get me through the hour. Even when nothing gets better or the days just can't get any brighter, I still think of you.

Three years without you have felt like an eternity.

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