When I was growing up, I used to get excited when my mom came to have lunch with me at school. I must've been in elementary school at the time. Anytime she would come to see me at school, it made me proud! If my mom ran errands I wanted to go with her. If she was getting her hair "done," I would wait patiently. Wherever she was, I wanted to be a part of her world. When she was gone, I missed her. I would sit and wait for her by the front window of our home until she came home from work. My world was a better place when she was around.
Fast forward to the 7th grade. My mom was going to come "inside" to pick me up from school.
"Why?" I wanted to know.
"Why what?" she asked.
"Why do you need to come inside? Why can't you just wait in the car, and I'll come out and find you?"
It was at that moment I realized I had distanced myself from my mom. I didn't want her at my school. I didn't want her to go shopping with me. I didn't want to be seen with her AT ALL! I wanted to pretend that I didn't have a mom. It felt like her pants were too short or her clothes were too tight...I wasn't sure what it was, I just didn't want to be seen with her.
When had this happened? What had she done to change my feelings? Where had she gone wrong?
It turns out, this is a normal part of life. Most kids go thru this "thing" where their parents embarass them. A time that no matter what the parent says or does, they get the "Eyeroll."
WELL, that wasn't going to happen to me! If I ever had kids, I was going to be the "Cool" mom! MY kids would always want me around. I would make sure of it! I would wear cool clothes and do cool things with my kids. This was a mission that I kept in the back of my mind for many years.
What is that saying? The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. (sigh) I wish I would've known that saying back then.
When I finally did have kids, I was prepared. I interacted with them, I talked to them and I listened to them. I knew these were things that were important to me and would mean alot to them. And it did.
I used to tell people, "If you want to have a relationship with your teenager, you need to start when they are little kids." That is what I focused on doing.
My kids always invited me to their events. I had lunch with them often, went on field trips and became a part of their school. We used to turn the music up LOUDLY in the house and dance until we laughed and fell on the floor! I tried to take care of myself and I dressed "appropriately" for a mom. Both of my kids fought for my attention when I was at their school activities.
I should've gotten a clue when my daughter was in the 5th grade and she announced, "Mom, you don't have to come to my award ceremony. I won't be upset."
"Well OF COURSE I'm going to come! How could I miss it?"
I thought I noticed a look of dread come across her brow...No, I had to be mistaken. I am the cool mom! Everybody likes me!
I've always been the cool mom. I interacted with my children, baked treats for them and let them run and scream thru the house! It was as much fun for me as it was for them. I thought I took really good care of myself which would make them proud of me. My jeans weren't too short and my clothes weren't too tight. I looked acceptable, or so I thought. I was considered to be attractive so there shouldn't be any issues.
There were a few more clues when she was in the 6th grade, but I didmissed them as part of her "aging process."
It was the fall of her 7th grade year that the truth hit me.
She had invited me to an art show that her school was holding. "That sounds great!" I said. "Mom," she said, "it's just an art show. You don't have to get so excited. We don't have to go."
Well I wasn't going to miss out on an opportunity to "hang" with my child, so off we went. We walked in to the school and went directly to the lunchroom, where the art was being displayed.
We didn't stop to chat with anybody. We didn't stop to look at anything. We didn't even make eye contact with anybody. There was no time. We went directly to our destination.
I was ushered in to the "Art Show" where I began to look at the student art. I saw someone I knew and quickly said hello before being moved in to a different direction by my daughter.
This was going well!
I then saw her make eye contact with a "boy" and she said hello. So I politely said, "Who was that?"
That is when I realized that I had lost my "Cool."
She turned abruptly and said, "We need to go."
"Why? We just got here."
She looked at me with disbelief, "Mom, I've seen everything I want to see. We need to go."
And "go" we did. We were there for all of 10 minutes.
Was she embarassed to have me there? Was she mortified for her friends to see me?
It didn't matter how nice or funny I was. It didn't matter what kind of clothes I wore or the fact that my face wasn't covered with pimples.
No matter what I could say or do, I was now "Uncool." I had fallen in to the ranks that my own mom had fallen in to.
I suppose I should've gotten the clue when I danced with wild abandon along side them just like we did when they were small, they would quickly leave the room. But I didn't.
I've learned over time that this happens to alot of parents. It is written off as "a passing phase, growing up, or hormones." I have been reassured that "they grow out of it." Usually by the age of 20....or maybe that was 25. I can't remember.
I still think my daughter and son are amazing kids! They are smart and funny beyond belief. They are good kids. They are also NORMAL and they are growing up learning how to make their own way. They are also teaching me to grow up with them. And part of growing up for me is letting go. I know I am not going to always be the center of their world, and that is ok. They are learning to push the boundaries of their world.
So for now, I wait. I have 12 years to go...
I'll keep you posted...