How to be an embarrassing parent
A friend of mine sent me this blog yesterday: Wave At The Bus If you haven't seen this site previously, be prepared to lose a solid afternoon looking through the posts. In a nutshell, a dad in Utah decided to wave to his teenaged son's school bus every morning. In costume. How he came up with 170 themes, I have no idea. The icing on the cake, to be sure, is the fact that this dad has a peg leg and works that into a few of the outfits. There's no parent alive who wouldn't think that embarrassing a teenager isn't the funniest thing ever. The dad and his wife claim that the kid doesn't mind, which may or may not be true.
My parents delighted in embarrassing their children. Sometimes just the threat of it was enough. My stad has worked at an Irish pub ever since I was a kid. St. Patrick's Day has always been a big deal at the restaurant, of course. When I was in high school, Pop somehow got his hands on a green tuxedo and promoted St. Patty's Day by standing at a busy intersection in Washington DC with a sign inviting folks to celebrate at the pub. I, of course, was mortified. Realizing this, he threatened to trade his regular sign for one that simply said, "I'm Claudia's dad."
In the summer, we often went to Myrtle Beach on vacation. My middle sister's birthday is in July, so we usually went out to eat and celebrated. At one particular restaurant, the servers would sing Happy Birthday to the honoree, so my parents were always threatening to say that my sister's name is LatishaWanda just so they could hear the servers belting out, "Happy biiiiiirthday, LatishaWaaaaaaanda, happy birthday to youuuuuu!"
Then of course there was the time I'd just gotten my first car and the 'rents thought it would be downright hilarious to put a heavy metal bumper sticker (I think it was Judas Priest, but I always forget) on the back of the car. They then collapsed into hysterics after I pulled away from the curb and drove off to KMart, blissfully unaware of all the hilarity going on at home. When I came out of the store, I walked past my own car because I didn't recognize it with the black bumper sticker.
I'm sure there were lots of other incidents, too, but I've probably repressed the memories (wait, I just had a flashback to the time they convinced me to eat the decorative parsley on my plate at a restaurant - "because it's good luck"). So far, I haven't had a lot of opportunities to embarrass my daughter. One of the reasons I went to Weight Watchers when she was a baby was that I knew I'd do lots of stuff to embarrass her when she got older, but I didn't want my circumference to be one of them. She's only six now, so she's not mortified by my daily actions yet. In fact, she handed me a drawing yesterday with "BFF Mom" in the middle and then hearts drawn all around it.
However, I see little signs that it's only a matter of time. My hair is very fine and in order to try to make it look like I have more than eight strands, I often flip my head upside down, comb out my hair, and then spray it with hairspray. When I'm upright again, my hair is flying outward at all angles. Sometimes, before I brush it back into my usual drab style, I cheerfully tell my daughter, "Okay, I'm ready to go!" It's fun just to see the momentary look of horror on her face before she realizes I am kidding. A couple months ago, I accompanied her to an event at her school that involved a deejay and dancing in the gym. Before we left the house I said, "I'm gonna dance like this at your school." Then I proceeded to hunch my back and kick my legs out from side to side like a square dancer on meth. Again, momentary look of horror.
Just ten years to go until I get to apply that bumper sticker to her car!