I believe I was put on this earth to embarrass my daughter. It started when she was 9 years old and she is now 18 years old. I am still very good at what I do.
I saw the signs when she was in the 3rd grade. I would join her for lunch at school a couple of times a month. Most kids loved it when their parent’s came in – made them feel like the rock stars of the table. My daughter didn’t feel so lucky. It started subtly. I noticed that she would slightly angle her body away from mine. Then I noticed that her classmates were much happier to see me than she was. And so it began.
The embarrassment continued. Middle school was probably the worst. Everything embarrasses a 13 year old girl. I was so unhip – and I wore “comfortable shoes.” I talked too loudly. I remembered my parents embarrassing me, so I tried to be sensitive. In high school, I knew not to sit next to Rachel at school sporting events and I knew not to engage her friends in conversations when I drove the carpools. But I found new ways to embarrass her… apparently, I didn’t text with the proper fingers (yes, there is such a thing) and I didn’t use the proper abbreviations when I texted (I told her that proper punctuation separated the adults from the teens … this was met with eye rolls, but it humored me).
Rachel is now a senior in high school and I am starting to see the signs of a thaw. There are times when she doesn’t see me as so bad. We have gone out to coffee and we have had pleasant afternoons together. But some things just aren’t far from the surface. Today we went shopping for prom shoes. It was a rainy day. I don’t know why it happened. I really don’t. But as we entered the store, my shoes were squeaking with every step. It wouldn’t stop. Why didn’t anyone else’s shoes squeak? It was so loud. Rachel cringed and I just laughed. The line between acceptance and embarrassment is so fine for a teenager. Sometimes I miss being young, but then at other times, it’s delightful to have comfortable, squeaky shoes and feel just fine about them.