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Parenting, Rope-worthy

It’s a thankless job … but someone has to do it

I used to laugh with abandon at Bill Cosby’s parenting routines. These days? Not so much.

I’m living them.

Remember the bit Cosby would do about his wife being sick in bed and the kids needing breakfast? He took the lazy route, fed them slabs of chocolate cake, and they sung his praises — “Dad is great. He gives us chocolate cake!” — until his wife stumbled downstairs and demanded to know what the noise was all about. And just like that, the kids sold him out.

I endured a version of this treason recently. Here’s how it played out:

DisneyWorld photo
This is as close as I'll be getting to Cinderella. Sigh.

Remember how Catherine said neither Basil nor I could accompany the Greenwich High chorus to its competition in DisneyWorld at the end of April because we are embarrassing?

To hear Catherine tell it, I am particularly mortifying, and a helicopter parent  to boot. I do insidious things like stand, wearing my coat, in the church hall waiting for her to say goodbye to her friends.

While hurt by this not-so-new revelation about my embarrassing nature, I nevertheless clung to the hopeful news that Basil was persona non grata, too.

Or at least I thought so.

When we went to the first parent meeting about the trip in September, the director took Basil aside and asked him to consider chaperoning. Most of the parents who volunteered were women and, well, some testosterone was needed.

And Catherine, who had sat at our dinner table the week before, BEGGING us both to stay away, said: “Dad, you should go.”

W. T. F?!

And so he is. At a preparation meeting at school last night, Basil began to feel the full weight of what he signed on for. This will surely be a long five days for him.

And while I’m dreaming up lots of “me” things to do that long weekend (the deep-tissue massage is booked), I’m feeling more than a little left out.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand embarrassing parents.

When I was a kid, the dog was allowed to sit in the front seat of the car while my sister and I sat in back.

My mother regularly cleaned the driveway or scrubbed the garbage cans while wearing her bathrobe.

Once on a dare, she even sent a Ziploc bag full of pudding with my school lunch — try explaining THAT in the high school cafeteria.

Am I really as embarrassing as Catherine thinks?

I only wear my bathrobe in public long enough to pick the newspaper up off the driveway.

I don’t wipe stuff off her face with a thumb I’ve licked first.

I’m not like the mom we heard in the Charlotte Russe dressing room who told her daughter that she wouldn’t buy the jeans she wanted until the poor teen “got in shape.”

Guess it doesn’t matter, though. Catherine and Basil will be yukking it up in the Orlando sunshine, meeting Mickey, Minnie, Cinderella and all their friends while I sit home.

In my bathrobe.

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.


5 thoughts on “It’s a thankless job … but someone has to do it

  1. Oh my gosh, this was hilarious! Who’d have thought the two of us would be experiencing these things at roughly the same time?! Olivia will be 18 in a few days, and it’s so funny how well I can relate to what you’re saying. Well done!

    Posted by Celia Taylor | April 1, 2012, 2:38 pm
  2. It’s a phase. I’m sure she would find things about you that are embarrasing regardless of what you did.
    Enjoy the space.

    Posted by memyselfandkids | March 27, 2012, 10:29 pm
  3. I think, in the long run, you got the better end of the deal. Enjoy the peace!

    Posted by Karen Waggoner | March 27, 2012, 10:01 pm

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