“You’re ‘barrassing me Mommy.”
Last week, I was at a summer get-together at my daughter’s school. There was a dunk tank. The kids did a great job dunking their principal. I made the horrifying choice to applaud. There might have been a “whoohoo.” I was an embarrassment.
Oh good lord. That’s what my life is going to be like from now on, isn’t it? My daughter has blossomed this summer. She really loved camp and I can see the independence and confidence she’s gained from it. But there are a couple of side effects that I’m just not ready for.
For one, she won’t kiss me good-bye this year, even if there are no witnesses. I even got a palm in my face when I went in for a smooch once. I was lucky if she “let” me hug her. Most days, I walked her in to camp and she was off with a wave. Ouch. Isn’t 7-years old too young for that to happen?
Then the embarrassment incident happened. I get it. I’m loud and obnoxious boisterous. I love to laugh and socialize. I like to think I participate in life. I also have a tendency to be a whack-job. That’s just who I am. Most people who’ve known me for a while are used to this and have come to some form of acceptance (My husband has gotten good at pretending he doesn’t know me in public). But Zoey is a whole new creature. She has no idea the level of nutty her mother can bring the party.
I understand what my daughter has ahead of her having a crazy parent such as I am. My dad was also the source of many, many embarrassing moments during my childhood (although never when I was as young as seven!). He was always farting in public and blaming it on me. He wore the most ridiculous pair of red plaid pants to most of my school functions. He loved to laugh loud and dance in public. Making goofy faces was like a second job for him. And it was hard-so hard-to be an awkward kid around him because people were always looking at us. Did your father ever try to make friends with a statue of Red Auerbach in Faneuil Hall? While chaperoning your 8th grade field trip?
Here’s the thing: Those are some of my favorite memories of my childhood. They are the ones that, to this day, make me break out in a big, goofy (and I’m sure embarrassing) smile. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. So, my dear daughter is in for a wild ride from now through adolescence. Here’s my promise to her: I will do my best not to act in ways that embarrass her on purpose.
If I notice that she’s looking for a hole to swallow her up, then I’ll dial it down. I swear. But I’m not going to change who I am just because it makes her silently wish someone else was her mother. I love her dearly but I’m crazy. And someday, when she’s an old lady like me, I want her to smile when she remembers her mom and her crazy antics. She just has to pay the price now for the joy later. Welcome to the club, kid. I hope I teach you well, so you can pass along the shame to your own kids someday.