It’s official, the day has arrived. That dreaded day has finally come. The day that every parent thinks will never happen, happened.
I am officially an embarrassment to BOTH of my children.
Now, I’ve been an embarrassment to my thirteen fourteen-year-old for a while now (she just turned fourteen on Wednesday). But, well, she’s a TEENager. FourTEEN! She hasn’t let me hold her hand, talk to her in public or anything in several years. And kiss her? Please!
But my little one, my baby, the one I thought would somehow magically escape the dreaded teen years? Well, apparently, I was wrong. And she’s only ELEVEN!
She’s the one who holds my hand, who still says “Mama” and who wants to know where I am and what I’m doing every second. She still plays and talks to herself and sings and thinks my husband and I are funny. How did this happen??
And it wasn’t a gradual thing, either. No, it was smack-me-upside-the-head sudden.
We’d just returned from the orthopedist, where I have personally paid for at least 3 examining rooms and probably several vacations, and we were returning to school. It was lunch time, and her grade was exiting the cafeteria as we were walking down the hallway.
Newly minted embarrassed child: “Mom, I don’t want them to see you. Don’t look at them!”
Me (in my head): Because you think not making eye contact makes me invisible?
So I tried to avoid eye contact and followed my daughter to her locker, waited while we got her books, carried them for her, and followed her down the hall. Please note the word “followed.”
Newly minted embarrassed child: “Mom, you’re going too slow. We have to get there before the rest of the class. I don’t want them to see you!”
Me (out loud): “You’re on crutches. I’m following you.”
Child: “Well, go in front of me!”
Me (out loud): “I don’t know where we’re going!”
We entered the classroom and two of her friends were there, along with her teacher. I was so flustered at dealing with her embarrassment, I barely acknowledged the teacher, thrust the books at one of the friends and left. As I maneuvered my way through the packed hallways, I returned the “Hello, Mrs. Wilck” greetings that were yelled to me (hah!).
I get it. I do. I was her age and I remember being embarrassed by my parents’ very existence. Even their breathing embarrassed me. I just thought that it would be a more gradual process with this one. And it also means that the teenaged attitude is not far behind.
That’s one of the reasons I don’t write about teenagers. Oh, I get them and usually understand them. But you know how you read for distraction, for escapism? Well, I write for the very same reason. I don’t want to delve into the character of a fourteen year old. I live with one all the time. I see the eye rolls, I hear the tone, I deal with the attitude. I want to create cute, sweet children (not that I don’t love mine to pieces). So when my characters have kids, they’re six years old!