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An Open Letter to My Children

How did I become such an embarrasment to my kids? I'm sure posting this here will help my cause...

So what happened?  You can be honest with me.  When did I become such an embarrassment to you?  It was just yesterday that you couldn’t wait for me come to school so you could introduce me to all your friends.  And remember your heartfelt declarations that you will NEVER move out, even if you get married, that you will always want to live with Mom?  One of you (I’m not going to name anyone here but you know who you are) has already reneged on that one but I’m not taking any chances with the rest of you.  I’ll have the legal contract for you to sign, just as soon as I can find a lawyer who will stop laughing long enough to draw one up.  And those lawyers wonder why they have such a bad reputation! 

I know it can’t be the way that I act, that’s for sure.  You know your grandparents; those people you think are so awesome?  Well, let me tell you something.  They were a nightmare to grow up with!  They acted like such, well, parents.  It was mortifying.  So I vowed I would never be that tragically un-hip and that I would be the cool parent, like all my friends had.  Funny thing, though, my friends never saw it that way.  They were always going on and on about how terrible their parents were and how they wished they had mine.  I guess I just hung around with kids who were really poor judges of character.

I will concede one thing…I saw a picture of myself the other day and for a split second I thought it was a picture of Grandma.  OK, so I am looking more like her but I am certainly not acting like her!

Speaking of the way I look, I feel that I need to defend my fashion choices.  You might think my “mom jeans” are pretty hilarious but I challenge anyone to wear those low-ride-skinny wisps of denim while scrubbing peanut butter out of the carpet, then crawling on the roof to retrieve a soccer ball for the 5th time that day.  Not a pretty picture now, is it?

And what was with ducking down in the backseat when we drove past a group of your friends the other day?  Don’t think I didn’t see you, what do you think that rear-view mirror is for?  It was a beautiful day so I was just taking in the breeze with the windows down and enjoying a little music.  I’m sorry, but that Tiffany song rocks!  There’s not a person out there who could resist singing along with it at full volume “I think we’re alone now…”  And here’s a newsflash: the 80’s are coming back in style so I would think you would be proud to have a mother who is so in tune with the current trends.

I am willing to offer an apology for what you so quaintly call “that day you embarrassed me at the mall.”  I still swear it was purely coincidence that I appeared to be at every store you and your friends were at.  I happen to be a big fan of “Kool Topix” or “Urban Kix” or whatever those phonetically-challenged mall store owners are calling their little money-printing factories this week.  The scream I let out at that last store was a bit over the top, I’ll admit.  I made the mistake of looking at a price tag and that sound was completely involuntary.  I won’t do that again.  But you would think that with that kind of profit margin, they could afford a dictionary.

Author’s note:  I let my daughter approve this before I published it, just like I always do whenever these poor children are the focus of my post.  This is an attempt, probably in vain, to stave off the tell-all book about their wacky childhoods that I know my kids are plotting.  Her feedback:  everything in this is a lie and I can come to her school anytime, just as long as I don't wear the “mom jeans.”  And if I don’t sing any Tiffany songs.  Or any songs.  Ever.

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Margaret Santjer May 01, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Michelle, thanks for sharing this! My son's still a toddler, but I know there will come a day when the hugs and kisses are too embarrassing. :)
Michelle Smith May 01, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Thanks, Margaret. Yes, enjoy it while you can! There is some good news, though. Rick & I have 5 children between the ages of 25 and 10 and I can tell you from experience that by the time they are in their early 20's, they start to come around to the fact that Mom and Dad aren't so bad after all!!!
Becky Wallace May 03, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I had the same topic of conversation with my 12-yo last week. I just promised her it would get worse. WAY worse. And I have photos, a YouTube account and facebook to back me up now.
Akiko Oda May 03, 2012 at 05:43 AM
I agree, Michelle! I don't have kids yet, but as a daughter in her 20s to my awesome parents, I feel like I'm really close to them now than ever before! Sure, I've given up on my mom and her mom jeans, but I'd rather her wear those than some skimpy outfit (shudder)! ;)
Michelle Smith May 03, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Oh, I've used the threat of exposing certain photos on Facebook with great success! Social media can be a good thing. You've gotta use whatever tools you've got!! And thanks for the idea about YouTube...gives me some ideas! ;)
Michelle Smith May 03, 2012 at 06:46 AM
It's funny how those parents that seemed so out of touch and, quite frankly, ignorant about life while we are in our teens suddenly seem so wise and wonderful as we grow into adults. That new relationship with them as adults (although now that I am in that role, I see that we never really become adults in our parents minds!) can be so rewarding. It's almost like discovering them all over again!

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