The other day I was goofing around when I tripped. The tween, who was in the same room at the time, gave me a look.
I knew that look well. It was the same one her father used to give me when I did something silly. That “I can’t believe you just did that” look.
You see the tween’s father doesn’t do silly. He never understood how I could walk into a door, or trip over my feet, and I remember well the day when he looked aghast at me after I walked into a coffee table.
“Why did you do that?” he asked.
Just as he didn’t understand why I had walked into a piece of furniture which had remained in the same place in the living room for years, I didn’t understand his question.
“Er, because I’m clumsy?” I ventured.
It seems the tween doesn’t do clumsy either, because she gave me that look followed by the comment.
“Mummy, you’re so, so …. so dysfunctional.”
I’m sure if that was a buzz word in the 90s her father would have used it too.
I’m well aware that along with being “dysfunctional” I’m treading a very fine line with my daughter – the one I’ll inevitably cross to become a complete embarrassment to her. At the moment, she still holds my hand in the street and still allows me to hug and kiss her at the school gate. The other day when I had her mates in the car she didn’t mind me joining in the conversation, but she drew the line at me singing or bouncing around in my seat to the tune. So although I’m rated socially impaired, she’s still letting me out in public.
When I was repeating the dysfunctional comment to my old schoolmate Smil, she brought me up-to-date with her own daughter’s parental rating.
Sas is 10, a skinny little minny a gust of wind would blow away, but what she lacks in size she makes up for in attitude.
When she’s with her mates and her mother annoys her, she’ll turn to them dead pan and explain:
“Don’t mind her, she’s a distant relative.”
Well, newsflash girls! The Dysfunctional Mother and the Distant Relative are getting together during the October school holidays… again.
Our daughters still haven’t recovered from our last sojourn in Townsville a few years ago. We hired a Moke on Magnetic Island, all the encouragement Smil and I needed to be silly. With the tweens jammed together in the back, me at the wheel and Smil beside me in a ridiculously oversized hat and sunglasses, we set off around the island. We were Thelma and Louise – footloose and fancy free, the years rolling back to our beach holidays as teenagers.
Every time we passed a group of surfies with boards tucked under their arms we whooped and blasted the horn. I’ll never forget the horror of these young men as they wheeled around in anticipation of hot surfie chicks, only to find a pair of nannas with kids in the back, tooting and whooping at them enthusiastically.
Their horror however didn’t match that of the tweens. They were disgusted – until we got to a deserted carpark and then they were appalled. Because there in the carpark I let loose with the zippy little Moke. As a teenager, having watched many country boys let rip in a paddock, I’d always wondered how fun it would be to do a donut. Here was my chance.
Needless to say, the trip back to the rental was long, the air thick with snipey disapproval, except from Smil. She understood perfectly.
And here we are off on holidays again, the Dysfunctional Mother, the Distant Relative and two very precious tweens, all crammed together in a cabin in a Cairns caravan park for ten days. If looks could kill, the Distant Relative and I won’t make it past 24 hours.
Do your parents embarrass you? Or, if you are a parent, how do you manage to embarrass your children?