Who me? When did I become that Mom? Surely, they have me confused with someone else. Yet, lately, I'm forbidden to: a) Say hello to my daughters' friends in front of said daughters b) Speak in public above a whisper c) Sing anywhere other than the shower d) Show affection towards any member of my family (including my husband) outside of our home. The list goes on.
I know it's "age-appropriate" for them to act like this...it's normal tween behavior...healthy to separate...blah blah blah.
But honestly, I never thought it would happen to me. I spent my entire childhood, adolescents and many years of adulthood, in a constant state of eye-rolling and mortification. Cue the flashback music.
I'm ten years old, standing in a K-mart parking lot in New Rochelle, NY. It's 93 degrees and I can feel my sky blue dolphin brand shorts sticking to my upper thighs. I'm shifting my weight back and forth, vainly attempting to release the fabric. But I just end up looking like I have to pee, which I did, but was too nervous to mention. The camp bus pulls up and my heart is beating so loudly I can barely hear the other kids yelling good-bye to their parents. It is my first summer at sleep-away camp and I do not want to go. Eight weeks away from my mom at an all girls camp where I had to wear a uniform? It sounded horrible.
Most of the kids have boarded the bus and the driver announces that we will be departing in five minutes. I look at my mom and ask one more time if I can stay home. She grabs my hand, "I will walk you onto the bus," she says. I blanch. "I'm pretty sure none of the other parents did that."
"Since when do I care what everyone else does?" she asks, as she climbs the steps.
The next thing I know, she has made it half way down the aisle when I hear her ask a petite girl with glasses, braces, freckles and dark frizzy hair neatly fastened in pig tails, "How old are you?"
"10," she says meekly.
"Perfect," my mom says, "Jonesy is too," (Jonesy is my nick name. Allegedly, I was named after the Rolling Stones song, "Little Miss Amanda Jones"). She thrusts me into the empty seat next to the girl. I feel my face flush and am positive that every single person on the bus is looking at me. At us. At her. All of a sudden, my Mom starts to cry and I've gone from not wanting to leave her to wanting her to leave. Immediately. The bus driver starts the ignition and she gives me one last hug.
The girl looks at me with a mix of pity and confusion. A look I was very used to. We both stare out the window as the bus pulls out of the lot and onto Route 1, heading towards the I-95. I take a deep breath and lean my head on the back of the chair. Even though it's a little past nine in the morning, the girl takes out a big shopping bag from under her seat. It is filled with jars of pickles, bags of pistachios, a variety of cheeses and a loaf of rye bread. She turns to me and asks "what did you bring for lunch?" At that moment, I knew we would be friends for life.
Once I became a mom, I swore I would never ever be like mine. And for the most part, I'm not. But, I guess when it comes to embarrassing my kids, I just can't help it. Maybe its genetic or maybe, like my Mom that day on the bus, it's just an attempt to make them happy.