“Don’t embarrass us!’
These were the instructions my children gave me on Sunday night and again on Monday morning. My children’s school had an event going on later that Monday. Parents were invited to come in to their children’s classroom and stay for up to thirty minutes and observe what the children were learning. Since, I’m working from home these days, I was the parent who would go visit.
The children and I discussed the visit before-hand. We went over the parameters.
“So, can I call out your name?”
“Can I say I love you?”
“Can I say I remember when you were a baby?”
This went on for a little while longer with me saying things which I knew would horrify them. Horrifying can be fun, and I’m really good at it. They even laugh sometimes. However, their final instruction to me was repeated multiple times. And they – the boys and the instructions – were clear and serious.
“Don’t embarrass us!”
Seriously, what did they think I was going to do? Did BR think I would tell a story how he used to watch the Wiggles nearly non-stop? Did SJ think I would say he used to hum the theme song to Thomas non-stop?
Did they really think that? Really.
Or maybe they think I smell. Or I dress funny. Or I have bad hair (they may be right on that one). Or, or, or.
I know, I know. It’s probably none of those things. It’s just that I’m their dad. And being their dad or their mom at this age in of itself can be embarrassing. Parents, uggh.
I’m not really hurt. Well, maybe a little. It was more fun when they thought I was cool. Cool enough to be seen with even when their friends were around.
Now, I’m the fun one but that is when we’re at home.
BR and I have been having a catch every day – weather permitting – since August. He and I read together every night. He asks me to watch him play the Wii and comes over to give me a high five every time he does something good in the game.
Then there’s SJ. He loves when he and I take a Sabbath nap together. He cackles like a maniac when we play fight, and calls out, “beat me up some more.” He walks over to me and asks if he can read with me or just sit with me.
Shouldn’t all these things matter too? I must be at least kind of cool in their eyes since all these things happen as well.
Yet, I knew this day would come – when our association would go indoors. It’s natural. Children get to a point where they are self-conscious of what their peers think. The approval of peers is given excessive consideration.
And I’m okay with that. Really, I am. It’s part of their growing up. I get it. I appreciate the moments we have even if they must take place at home or some other locale that is away from prying eyes.
Some day, I’ll be cool enough to take out side again without fear of embarrassment. And when the children are ready to reveal me to the world, I’ll be there.
Happy, proud, loving, and maybe even embarrassing.
Did I ever tell you the story when…