It’s finally happened. The horrific, the excruciating, the inevitable. My oldest child was embarrassed by me, his own mother.
After years of being the sun that lit my children’s lives, my boy saw me in public, ducked his head and blushed. Oh, say it isn’t so. Moody, pensive and brooding pre-pubescence must be just around the corner. That or he’s found me out; I’m totally uncool.
So here’s how it went down. I went to the school to give my kids Friday popcorn money which required me to walk to their classrooms and hand-deliver it to their teachers. Luckily I was wearing my holey yoga pants that make me look casual and athletic. My hair was pulled back into a trendy sloppy ponytail, and I had my glasses on. It’s a look I call smart and sporty—smorty or sparty. I’m sure it’ll catch on.
Kaleb’s friends saw me before he did, and they started to whisper and point. That’s when I called out, “Hi, Kalebugaroogala.” It rhymes with “Eat a Rutabagala” and is a pet name I reserve for special occasions, and what’s not special about seeing your oldest child at school? “How’s it going, Buddy?” I said. “Are you showing off your smarts? Being a smarty toot-cakes? Cashing in on that brain lottery you won?” Always praise your child in public—it’s a motto I live by. Following which came the head-ducking and the blushing. Totally uncalled for, right?
Okay, so that’s not exactly what happened. Here’s version number two. I walked into his classroom—still smorty and sparty—and slyly caught my son’s eye at which point I said, “Yo, yo, dawg” and flashed him the cool victory sign, hand sideways, palm facing chest (that’s how all the kids are doing it these days) at which point he sunk into his chair, ducked his head and blushed. “That’s a’ight,” I whispered. “I be the Mama on the D.L. See you back at the crib.” I can’t be sure, but that final statement may have activated his highly sensitive gag reflect.
The truth is, neither of those scenarios occurred, minus the holey yoga pants, the smorty, the ducking and the blushing. All I did was walk in, hand his teacher the popcorn money and give my boy a big smile. There was no blatant coddling, no awkward attempts to use slang and still with the ducking and the blushing. Was my Mama Reign really that short lived? What was next? Requesting that I drop him off two blocks from school so that he not be seen with me?
Now if it had been my 8-year old daughter she would have leapt from her chair to come give me a waist hug. Yes, in public! And she probably would have told the whole class, “Look, it’s my mother!” as if it had been years, and not minutes, since she had last seen me.
Maybe someone can tell me--do boys take on that whole parental embarrassment thing early or do I only have one measly year of admiration from my daughter left? Someone should tell us how short our shelf-life really is. That or maybe it’s just the holey yoga sweats. Because I can always go shopping for new smorty pants. What I can’t buy are more public displays of affection from my offspring.