The mom pulls into the school parking lot and notes that she has five minutes to drop off the advisory party snack before the class is scheduled to meet. She sees her son kicking a soccer ball with classmates in front of the school. As she calls out to him he looks at her straight in the face, horrified, and then scampers quickly out of sight.
Do you want to know the truth about how lame you are? I think you can handle it.
Everyone knows that the parents of teens are impossibly uncool. Your parents were totally embarrassing back in the day. And now, even though you are a fully functioning, contributing, successful person in life, you are a huge liability to your kids.
This is part of the natural order of things. If kids didn’t try to separate from their parents, and be really ornery while doing it, they would end up wanting to live at home forever . . . and their parents would be okay with that. Instead, a situation unfolds where eventually everyone is over everyone and the little chicks turn into turkeys and flee the nest, much to the relief of all involved.
While this makes total sense, nothing can completely prepare you for that transition. After all, it was just moments ago when you were the queen of the world and knew everything there was to know about the world. This dynamic was evidenced by your child asking you a thousand questions a day that drove you insane at the time, all the “why-why-but-whys” an endless stream leading you through the front door of the asylum. Of course now that you are perceived to know nothing, this memory joins countless others in the wistful mental museum housing your former glory.
In fact, now that you are barely tolerable, when you think back to those days of complete adoration you wonder if you are making it all up. I swear I seem to remember snuggling with my son as we read books before bed one night. Our talk turned to Davidson and he said he wanted to go to college there one day. I said that would be awesome, and maybe I could be his roommate, ha ha . . . and he looked at me in all seriousness and said, “Well, I hope so . . . but I don’t think they’ll let us.” That conversation seems impossible right now. Maybe that was just a sweet dream, like the ones I used to wish for him when he let me tuck him in at night.
Since I am clearly beyond all hope, I have decided to double down and completely embrace my lack of coolness. I dance in front of the car after picking up our dog at The Barker Lounge. I cry unabashedly at the movies when the completely predictable, sentimental scene flashes across the screen. I pound away around the Booty Loop, determined to run although it cannot be a pretty picture, and I am wearing a t-shirt so old it is almost threadbare.
I know it is almost physically painful for them to watch these antics but I don’t care. Their adolescent world may prefer those who are super cool, but the truth is, I am happy to demonstrate that family always provides a loving space for even its most awkward members.
What to get a better handle on your lameness? See how disastrous a cool mom can be with this clip from Mean Girls, note when it is past time for the bird leave the nest with this scene from The Middle, and learn a surprising tip from John Rosemond to make you just a little more cool.