Tonight I took my dear son to an orientation meeting at the junior high, the school he will be attending in September. As we were getting ready to eat dinner, he looked at me and said, "Mom, please try to behave yourself tonight..." with something of a smirk on his face. He was kidding, but only half kidding. "Why do you say that? What do you think I'm going to do?" "I don't know, I just don't want you to embarrass me."
Ah, I've been on the other side of this fence, and I remember the view well. Sometimes just the way your mother breathes in and out can be embarrassing. I had thought this was more the territory of girls, though. My mother, for example, tends to sing in public. Unabashedly. She sings long arias that go on and on for verse after verse. Why not just a line or two? I guess she has a pretty nice voice (I am her daughter, you see, so I can't be sure) but she sings the wrong lyrics... and a lot of the time, the wrong notes as well. She also tends to tell people too much, or talk for too long, or act too friendly, or smile too much. As a teenager, when I was out with her, people would ask if we were sisters. After a while I thought, ok, so maybe she looks young, OR MAYBE I JUST LOOK REALLY OLD! Then there were those times when she tried to be too much of a tough guy (cute as she was and still can be, tough guy is a role she played easily). She would GLARE and POINT at me, and one year, when I was fooling around and talking too much with my friend in Italian class, she made arrangements to SIT IN ON MY CLASS. She stalked into the class, sat down stiffly in the back of the classroom and fixed her GLARE on me until I could feel it boring a hole in the back of my head. Oh, all of this took place in the same school building where my son and I were going to the meeting. Good times, good times!
My son and I drove in silence, he worrying (I'm sure) and me, wondering. I broke the silence. "I'll tell you what," I said. "I promise not to break into spontaneous song, and I promise not to do ANY dance steps at any point, how's that?"
Was that a sigh of relief, or was I imagining it?
"Yeah, that's good." He said, "That's what I was mostly worrying about."
Oh my. I haven't turned into my own mother exactly (although, there might still be time for that), but apparently I'm just as horrifying in an altogether new and different way.