Why Embarrassing Your Kid is a Good Thing
When the proverbial sh*t hits the fan sometimes the best thing to do is nothing… then let said sh*t spew all over the land and let the smell linger for a while. Just as you start to get used to the smell and after your adrenaline, energy, creativity, depression, and ability to hear God starts to feel like TV static and mind-altering numbness, it’s time to escape and reset.
Exit Stage Left
My exit is far west into the middle of the pacific ocean, right into the furtherest land from any other continent. I call this magical land, Kauai. Being on this island is like being in a different country but with a USA security blanket. You see, I am not as brave as those who travel to third-world countries with a water bottle, backpack, passport, and a few bucks. I’m a mother, wife, and entrepreneur so unfortunately my control issues and trauma liability are at their asexual peak.
Mother Daughter Time
At twelve my favorite thing to do was hang out alone with just my mom. Alone time with Lety was rare and it was especially unusual if it was without my annoying younger brother and compliant Ya-Ya (term of endearment for Philippina nanny). I was curious about how to be a woman. I wanted to know what she did, how she did it, and where she went.
My memories of Lety time all to myself, thirty-something years later, are vivid. She was cool—way cooler than I am. She was brown, beautiful, unique, creative, brilliant…different than the other moms. She worked, she kept a second residence in San Francisco, wore stylish expensive suits, and people adored her. To me, this was not normal and it was annoying. Church people judged her and this embarrassed me. After all, I wanted a beige “Betty Crocker” kind of mom.
Therefore, aspiring to be the best beige…or err… “tan” mom in the world, whisking my teenage daughter off to my magical exit land for a little mother-daughter “womance” seems like a really good idea! We laughed, talked, slept in, played in the ocean, surfed, ate Bubba Burgers, shaved ice, ice cream, and maybe a Lava Flow or two.
By about Day 3 I began to feel human again. About day 3.5 I realized this was more valuable than I originally had imagined. You see, right now she does not think I am cool, beautiful, smart, or unique. Right now, to her I am annoying and any kind of womanly self expression is “sooooo like, stoooooooooppppp mommmmb!”
She does not want me to dance, talk to strangers, wear a bikini (and why don’t I wear a t-shirt like other “good more Christian moms?”), sing, or get really excited about anything (yes, I was really excited about eating Bubba Burgers), or point out glorious beauty of almost anything or ask her what she is thinking. How embarrassing that is to a young one. Flirting is absolutely out of the question with anyone ANY AGE. (Pfft!) Please keep in mind, my type is either 2 or over 60 years old, both of whom play now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t.
This “now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t” is the thing! You see, being unapologetically me: annoying, wearing an American Indian feather head dress or a bikini, seeing and engaging strangers, going on adventures is it. ME.
This is the thing she will remember!
The thing that will make her fearless.
The thing that will make her, HER!
The thing that will show her how to be a woman.
She may not listen to a thing I say and she can’t see me right now.
But she will and then she won’t. And then… she will see herself.
So here it is. We must show our children how to be alive. We must dance, sing, wear bikinis, work, not work, be whatever it is we wish to be. We must show how to express ourselves, how to figure it out when the sh*t hits the fan, how to be good to ourselves, how to get our groove on, how to love people, and how to not lose ourselves in the minefield that is raising a family.
How to be a glorious, abundant God-, life-, and burger-loving woman!
Here’s to all of my “sistas” wearing their metaphorical feather head dresses out there: BE BRAVE and BE YOU! Remember, WE are raising the future generation of warriors. Secretly, they want us all to themselves, as this is where they will eventually find themselves.
I’ll keep you posted on the next “I Shall Never Wear A T-Shirt Over My Bikini Anonymous” meeting and whether or not I eventually convert to the church of “Good Christian Mothers.” For now, cook up some Bubba Wubba Burgers in your underwear.
Peace, love and Bubba Wubba Burgers…