Written by Shelley Plett Wednesday, 12 December 2007 15:50
“Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.” —Marilyn Penland
The torch was passed. It happened in a stadium full of thousands of hyperventilating tweens wearing thousands of dollars of concert tour T-shirts. Subconsciously I knew it was coming. But even though it was unapparent to the average observer, I felt it like a punch in the gut.
I am undeniably “the mother.” There are two full generations growing and thriving beneath my own.
And I’m closer to 40 than 30. There, I said it.
It’s not that I don’t have experience being the mom. I’ve been at it a few years and am comfortable with the title. If nature follows its usual course, I have a couple of good years of being referred to as “Mommy” and some quiet time until playground social issues and like-like situations become life or death issues.
But I do sense the universe is preparing me with increasing subtle hints.
For instance, I thought it was all right to dance around the living room to “Beer in Mexico” with Kenny Chesney in the CD player. Or serenade my kids with a head-banging tune from the front seat on our way home after work.
My 2-year-old was OK with it, but the pleading and looks of shame on my oldest daughter’s face told me otherwise.
I took my unappreciated enthusiasm along with us to a Hannah Montana-Miley Cyrus concert in Kansas City—an early surprise for her upcoming birthday.
Off we went, on a true GNO—or Girls Night Out, which Hannah-Miley fans and/or parents of fans already know—and sat in the cheap seats with our hot dogs, cotton candy and T-shirt in hand.
The chance to make this dream of hers come true and create a memory that she would one day tell her own kids about was a dream come true for me, too.
I felt like the cool mom. We should all get to feel like the cool mom once in a awhile.
I think she felt it, too. Or maybe she was just feeling the jumbo cotton candy. But we, along with 10,000 frenzied girls, a boy sprinkled in here and there, and their parents, sat under shooting spotlights, fireworks and strobe flashes that lit us up from every angle.
The opening band, The Jonas Brothers, took the stage setting off a unified shrill that was probably beyond a dog’s auditory range.
We were clapping and stamping our feet, moving as much as possible in our packed rows. Then the band gave us our que: “We want everybody on their feet!”
All right, I thought, ready to rock it out. (That statement is enough to make my daughter drop her head in shame.) Looking directly at me, she said, “That doesn’t mean you.”
There’s that gut punch.
Apparently, I was crossing over into forbidden territory. And while she may have saved me from embarrassing myself, considering this was a Disney concert with performers in their early teens, she sure took me by surprise.
I had two thoughts. One, I’m not that old. And two, is she that old?
My sweet little firstborn? Capable of being embarrassed by her own mom? That’s quite a milestone.
After thinking it over, I’ve since decided this could work out. It’s like a new superpower I can pull out when I need to—or just feel like it.
“Children who can be embarrassed by their parents are children who have not lived long enough” is a line from “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom. If this is the case—and I believe it is—and my daughter hasn’t even reached the double digits yet, my fun has just begun.
She has no idea how many hair band cassette tapes are stashed in my closet.
And I’m not afraid to use them.