There are special moments that are etched in our memories. Some we planned for and some we didn’t. Some we looked forward to and some we didn’t. Some we dreamed about and some we didn’t. Our baby’s first steps, a wedding, or buying our first home, to name a few. But nothing quite compares to the first time we feel embarrassed by our parents.
That one just seems to stick with us.
As the daughter of a woman who loved to be herself and wasn’t shy about supporting her kids and their dreams, I lived a lot of my childhood being embarrassed. You see, when I was in my school-age years, my Mom volunteered every chance she got. She would volunteer to be Room Mom, sell raffle tickets at the youth football games, chaperone chorus trips, and basically be up my grill whenever the opportunity presented itself. Or so I thought. I mean, that’s basically what it felt like from the perspective of an adolescent.
What made it worse was that she would always do her volunteer duties with some “flair.” It was her goal to attract the most attention to herself as possible, to get the job done. This woman didn’t just sell raffle tickets. Oh no. That’s wasn’t her style. She would dress up in a curly rainbow wig and walk around shouting “50/50 raffle” as loud as she possibly could until people would just finally give their money to her so she would go away. Or so I thought. I mean, that’s basically what it felt like from the perspective of an adolescent.
She was always the loudest one in the room, too. Her support could be heard from miles around. Even if she wasn’t familiar with the sport, she would stand on the sidelines and cheer her heart out. She would start chants in the stands and didn’t care if she was the only one chanting. She would beam with pride and point out which one was her kid to the surrounding fans. Or so I thought. I mean, that’s basically what it felt like from the perspective of an adolescent.
Fast forward 30 years later and here I am, doing the same things to my own kids. And, if I’m being honest, I love every second of it. I love supporting them from the sidelines and cheering them on as loudly as I can. I love offering my help to the teachers and getting to know their friends.
I have that same flair my Mom has (minus the curly rainbow wig) and I love being silly. I love entertaining and getting a laugh. It’s the actress in me. So, when I see my 11-year-old cringe and listen to him tell me that I’m weird, it just affirms that I am not holding back. It affirms that he sees my support of him in all of his efforts and he will never question my commitment to his dreams.
I want my kids to remember that Mommy wasn’t ashamed of who she was or of letting the world see how silly she could be. I want them to remember that Mommy gave people smiles and laughter, even if it meant that she looked a little outrageous while doing it. I also want them to understand that it’s ok to put yourself out there and look a little foolish every once in a while, especially if it means that you left the world a little brighter in your wake.