“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…
I ‘worry’ more about the time when they stop wanting to hang out with us, even at home. It is fun watching them grow and fun teasing them a bit too.
That time you refer to is coming. I am not looking forward to it either.
You lost me at bad hair. Just joking. Usually out takes a few years more before they start getting embarrassed by us
What do you mean out takes?
Bad hair – yes, that’s me.
Were you successful? No embarrassing moments?
I think I was. BR said I shouldn’t have used my phone. I truly was on it for just a few moments. He’s tough. He said I was too modern. Huh?
You are a much nicer parent than I am. I use embarrassing my children as “creative correction”. When my daughter (who will be 17 in a month and a half) starts getting too mouthy I tell her, “Next time we’re at the mall or WalMart I will grab your hand, start skipping and singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ at the top of my lungs.” She quickly curbs her tongue. With my son I tell him I that I will “hug him and kiss him and call him George” (a la Bugs Bunny) when we’re grocery shopping. He’ll be 15 next month so this is a serious threat! I have yet to follow through on my threats, but just the thought of it is enough to make the kids stop.
You’re cool. And a little cruel! And darn funny!
Kids can be tough with their demands, can’t they? At least I know I’m not alone!
No, you are definitely not.