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Parenting

Midlife confessions

Last Saturday's birthday bash class at Jazzercise of Southwestern CT, where I'm having the time of my life with some fabulous ladies, dancing like no one is watching. (I didn't get the blue shirt memo.)

Before we get to know each other a little more — before you spend even one more minute reading this blog, it’s important that you know something about me:

I am embarrassing.

There. I said it.

It apparently runs in the family. My mom tells a hysterical story (she always tells things better) about the unflattering snowsuit my grandmother made her wear, long past the time kids in her neighborhood were wearing such things.

She thought she’d get out of wearing it if she ruined it, so decided to slog through a swamp on her way to school. Unfortunately mom didn’t swim and nearly drowned as the horrific garment took on water. There was no sympathy from Mimi when she got back on the front porch, either. The snowsuit remained a part of her winter wardrobe.

When I was a kid, I endured my share of embarrassment, too. I guess that old saw about living what you learn is true.

Two examples:

  • My sister and I were the only kids at our school whose mom picked us up each day with the family dog riding in the FRONT seat.
  • And there was the pudding incident. Mom threatened to send the next day’s lunch serving in a zippered plastic bag. I called her bluff. Do you know how awkward it is to explain a bag of pudding to your lunch table?

Some years ago, my own habit was in need of intervention.

On Catherine’s first day at Eastern Middle School in Greenwich, I convinced Basil to pull up a beach chair and  join me on the front lawn to await the bus’ return.

The morning of Catherine’s 13th birthday, I stood in the driveway holding up a big “Happy Birthday” sign as the bus went by the house. I never got to see her reaction. Just the top of her head as she slid down in her seat.

Following the birthday incident, I tried to clean up my act. I thought I was doing much better, but the state of being embarrassing is not easily overcome. Among my more egregious transgressions:

  • I sing in the car, while doing the grocery shopping and in the house.
  • I make up songs.
  • I sometimes speak to strangers.
  • I ask Catherine’s friends questions.
  • I sometimes write on Catherine’s Facebook wall.
  • I joined the Rye Town Community Band, which performs. In public.
  • I have performed as part of Jazzercise demonstrations, including at a minor league ballpark in upstate Connecticut and during the Big East tournament in Hartford.
  • I dance on stage at Jazzercise of Southwestern CT, in the aisles of ShopRite, in the kitchen and while stopped at traffic lights.
  • I dance.
  • I wave at the ESF camp counselors when picking Catherine up.
  • I am too friendly greeting the counselors when dropping Catherine off.

These are just some of the many ways I am embarrassing. I vow to do better in the future.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know is embarrassing, too, take heart: The debilitating symptoms of this ailment are overlooked during the holiday season, in the weeks leading up to a child’s birthday and during back-to-school shopping time. While there is no cure, I’m told the condition is completely ignored once your child is grown and has children of his or her own.

I just hope I can keep myself in check that long.

 

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About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Midlife confessions

  1. As someone who used to work with Terri in The Advocate’s Features Department, I can attest that she is telling the truth. She is quite embarrassing.

    I’m working on a screenplay titled ‘Bozo Edits the Guide’ as we speak

    Posted by Tom Mellana | August 18, 2011, 11:11 pm
  2. I once skipped down the main street of our small town while my oldest son was walking with me.
    Our daughter works for Pixar. The first film she worked on was Toy Story 2, and she happened to be visiting when it opened. We all went, of course. When her name appeared on the screen in the credits, Bill and I applauded. She sank to the floor and pretended she didn’t know us.
    I talk to strangers, am friends with teachers, speak out in public — all to mortify my children. Just ask them.
    I refuse to conform to the timid grandmother image some in the family wish I had. Oddly enough, the grandkids think it’s great! So there is hope…

    Posted by Karen Waggoner | August 17, 2011, 6:18 pm
  3. OH THANK GOD! I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY EMBARRASSING MOTHER. I HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON AS WELL. THE RULES ARE:

    1. DO NOT “COMMENT” ON KIDS FACEBOOK POSTS UNLESS YOU WANT TO BE DE-FRIENDED.

    2. DO NOT DANCE & SING “LOVE SHACK” WITH YOUR CHILD IN THE CAR AND DO NOT BALLROOM DANCE WITH YOUR SPOUSE IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILD.

    3. DO NOT HAVE “ONE” GLASS OF WINE BECAUSE KNOW MATTER WHAT “YOU ARE DRUNK”.

    4. NEVER, EVER, TALK TO STRANGERS IN YOUR CHILDS PRESENCE. I HAVE GOTTEN – “MA? DO YOU KNOW HIM/HER? IF YOU SAY NO – BOY DO THE EYES ROLE.

    I THINK I COULD GO ON, BUT I WILL STOP FOR NOW. DID WE DO THIS WITH OUR PARENTS?

    Posted by DEBBIE | August 17, 2011, 4:45 pm
    • Yes, I remember being totally embarrassed by my parents. I was in the children’s choir at church. My mother was a trained singer; I could hear her voice over the entire congregation — and it wasn’t a small church. And, in the ultimate embarrassment, my mother produced a baby when I was almost 12, which meant that they were still doing “that” — the ultimate embarrassment to a teen.

      And, in revenge, our grandkids will be embarrassed by our children. I love watching that right now!!

      Posted by Karen Waggoner | August 17, 2011, 6:22 pm

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