Recently I read an article by Kate O'Brien entitled, "Our Guide To Being An Embarrassing Parent". O'Brien suggests that this is somehow a rite of passage for every child. The article discusses the obvious things such as spit baths and calling your teens by their "pet" names (sugar-buns) in front of their friends.
Comedian Arabella Wier suggests shouting out of the window really loudly as you drive past: "Don't forget to wipe properly, those stains will never come off, wipe front to back." But the consensus is: whether or not a parent means to embarrass their teen or not, it still happens and it doesn't take much.
Last weekend Big-D & I were hanging out, discussing this very concept of parents embarrassing children. We compared notes and laughed and laughed until I couldn't breathe any longer. What were our parents thinking???
Big-D played basketball for the local Jr. Jazz league. During practices, if a player missed a lay-up shot, his dad would chase them around the court. Ok, so the coach rides his players a little hard, I thought. Oh no, Big-D tells me. His dad was not a coach... just a spectating parent that decided to "get involved".
As far as sporting events go, I remember when my sibs & I were all enrolled in Middlebury Summer Little League. It was pretty much The Thing To Do in our town every summer. My mom worked nights and attending our early morning games was somewhat of a sacrifice for her. Now you must realize that normally, NurseMom has a low speaking voice and always sang alto in the church choir. However, something I learned about NurseMom that first summer is that her "cheering voice" is high-pitched. She would sit in the stands and yell something lame and embarrassing like "whoo-hoo" or "goooooooo Emma!" in her high-pitched screechy voice. Fellow teammates would always inquire, "Is that your mom?" Ummm.....what? Did you say something? Talking to me? But as NurseMom started picking up more hours on the night shift, she began to park out behind center field and watch the games between catnaps in her reclined front seat. Yes, that is a good place. Watch the game from there, I used to think.
Both Big-D & I also agree that our parents lacked a little fashion sense as well.
As far back as I can remember, MrBusDr always wore a Swedish-style Wigéns driving cap, completing the ensemble with a toothpick in his mouth. (Still Does.) I also remember the first time I saw him in blue-jeans. Whoa! That was a shock to the system. By the way - the hat never embarrassed me. It's just funny that while other dads wore ball caps - my dad wore this. Poor Big-D...his dad always wore an old knit hat.
MrBusDr got off easy because he was out of town a lot. His opportunity to embarrass his children wasn't nearly as exorbitant as NurseMom's.
Case in Point: "All Skate, Everyone Skate"
In elementary school, we had "roller skating parties" at the local roller rink. There was always a plethora of adult volunteers from the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). Nevertheless, NurseMom insisted on coming. Heaven forbid she be like the other "cool" parents that could care less about their kids and just drop them off and pick them up afterwards. NurseMom came to the roller rink. And not only did NurseMom come, but she skated! And not only did she skate, but she was a bit of a show-off (NurseMom, you know this is true! Don't try to deny it!)
NurseMom would be wearing her "comfy" pants - the polyester pants with the elastic waistband. However, because there weren't any pockets, and her regular "big" purse could get stolen, she would bring along her Rabbit Fur Pouch (straight from the 60's) and safety pin it to the waistband of her pants. Now, that was attractive!
But not only did she wear the pants with the rabbit pouch tied to her hip and then skate... She was a totally awesome skater!!! She could skate forward AND backwards, and do figure eights, and whip in and out and around all of the little kids who were continually stumbling. And she did all of this with a great big smile spread across her face.
See, now the funny thing is that I don't recall such said events -- or at least not the same way they do. I remember having a discussion about The FriendGirl in carpool, just not the discussion. And I am sure I was singing a John Mayer song in the car...When am I not listening to John Mayer? And besides, I don't sing that bad. Perhaps it was the drool patch that embarrassed them... And shaking my bum-bum in the store??? I have no such recollection. I plead the 5th!!!
That being said, I wonder how much my own parents were aware of the things they did that embarrassed us? Did NurseMom know that all eyes were on her during her Amateur Skating Exhibition? Maybe not. But, I am sure that MrBusDr knew that he parked in the Handicapped spot and then pretended to limp into the store (before laws were in place). I mean, how could he not have known?
I am sure that NurseMom takes great pleasure in knowing that my own children think I am embarrassing and that she - "Gram" - is cool! However, for the record... a few of FunnyMan's friends have actually told him I AM COOL! Yes - it's true - I've heard it myself. I think this also embarrasses him. He doesn't get it. But perhaps he doesn't realize just how un-cool they think their parents are - hahaha. Grass is always greener, eh?