Let’s face it: embarrassment is a fact of life. While some of us may get more easily ruffled than others, it happens to everyone. And embarrassment is never quite as magnified as it is when you are in those delicate, formative years. You know, the years when the whole entire world revolves around you. Remember those? When you’re young, there is something so utterly humiliating about parents. Whether they mean to be or not, everything they do or say seems to be in the name of mortification, and my mom was no exception to that rule.
The funny thing is that now I can look back on those so-called embarrassing moments with fondness. The very moments that used to make me want to a crawl in a hole are now some of my favorite memories because they show me what a great mom I have.
When I was in the fifth grade, our school had parties at a local roller skating rink. At one party, a boy in my class came up to me in front of all my friends and presented me with a rose. Being ever-so-mature, I sauntered over to the trashcan and boldly threw it away in front of everyone. Yes, this was very cruel of me, but I was trying to look cool in front of my peers. Now, this would be the end of my mini-mean girl tale if my mom had not been present. She was appalled by my behavior and rightfully so. I got a public verbal lashing and was told I had to apologize immediately. There is nothing quite as humbling as being reprimanded by your mom in front of 25 of your classmates. Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to treat people with compassion. (And I am still sorry to that boy.)
In sixth grade, my elementary school went on a 3 night field trip to a nature camp. My mom, ever enthusiastic and always involved, was a chaperone, much to my chagrin. One evening, we were all gathered in a great room. My mom was leaning against a piano bench, and she clumsily took a spill in front of everyone. And I’m talking MAJOR face plant; it was loud, it was messy, it was horrifying. It was one of those things sixth-graders aren’t going to let you forget. If this were to happen now, I would make sure my mom was okay and obviously not be bothered by it. Of course, when you are 12 years old, everything is the end of the world and everything your parents do is because they are out to get you. Looking back, I’m sure that my mom’s idea of a good time was not spending several nights with boy-band obsessed preteens, but she did it for me. Thank you, Mom, for always being there.
During those awkward junior high years, I was finally invited to the highly anticipated boy-girl parties. I was elated and thought maybe, just maybe, this would make me “popular”. I would casually mention my plans to my mom, and naturally, she would bombard me with an impressive interrogation. Whose house was this at? Who was invited? How many parents would be there? What room would we be in? Would the lights be on in said room? When I couldn’t provide satisfactory answers (which I never could), she decided she’d not only drive me to the gathering, but walk me to the door, introduce herself to the adults at home, and typically end up staying to have a good 30-minute chat. How dare she have the nerve to want to be so involved in my life! Thank you, Mom, for asking questions, for being involved, for always caring.
Now I have my own daughter, and I eagerly anticipate the days I can embarrass her beyond belief. Because the truth is, if you have an embarrassing mom, you should consider yourself lucky. It means that they care. It means they show up. It means they love hard.
In a few years, I will be the mom blaring Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls in the carpool line. I will be the mom who volunteers to chaperone the class field trips. I will be the mom who mortifies my child by shouting, “Make good choices!” (à la Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday) as she goes to a party.
I can’t wait to be an embarrassing mom; after all, I learned from the best.