Yes, I see the quick smirk on your face. I hear you thinking about the time you sang, “I Can’t Get No…Satisfaction” loudly while standing in line at the grocery store as your kids squirmed in…dissatisfaction.
It’s not like we start out trying to mortify our kids. They initiate it!
My man has worn long tennis socks with his shorts since he was a studly 25-year-old, and by god, he’s sticking with those socks (or ones like them) for his entire life. So, when our kids were…kids, they moaned on vacations as we walked the beach together in July, or attended swimming lesson or tennis lessons, or even soccer games, and they had to endure their dad in shorts and “tall” socks.
They’d save their allowance and buy short thick Agassi tennis socks, and stick them in their dad’s sock drawer (and throw out the offending “tall’ socks,” of course). But by that time, tall socks became a symbol of our independence, our stubbornness, and our parenting.
No child of ours was going to tell us what we could or could not wear, or sing, or even admire.
One day I was driving my kids home from a lesson – ballet or soccer or piano or chess or, well, the list goes on. Because we lived off a scenic, hilly road called “Paradise Drive,” we always passed many buff bicyclists. On this particular sunny afternoon, I unknowingly let out a sigh while exclaiming, “look at the calves on that man.”
My son and daughter both bellowed in two long syllables: “MOOOOOMMMMM!”
“What?” I asked innocently.
“You’re married,” my son expounded. “You can’t look at another man’s legs!”
I came close to muttering back, “I’m married, but I’m not dead,” but instead said, “I’m just commenting on the muscles this guy has built by bicycling so hard.”
No good. My kids were adamant that I should not and could not notice the muscles on any other man but their dad.
I realized then that I’d just found a supreme opportunity for future parental embarrassment. So each time the kids and I drove home on Paradise Drive and we passed a well-muscled bicyclist, I’d open my mouth and begin, “Wow, look at the…” And they’d stop me with groans of dismay and the two-syllable pronunciation of my name.
If one of their friends was in the car with us, my children would blush stop-sign red before I even pointed.
Ahhh, the perks of being a parent.
P.S. I won’t even start with how my stories embarrass my (now adult!) children. Let’s just say, I’m not supposed to write about negligées, sexual attraction, bedroom eyes, or passion (if you’ve read my book THE RIGHT WRONG MAN, you know I still embarrass my kids horribly). My poetry seems okay to them, though (as long as it’s not about them). Please check out Karen Elliott’s poetry-themed blog this week – she features one of my poems this Friday.