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Tales from the Motherhood: To embarrass your children, all it takes is being yourself

Published: Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 3:57 p.m. CDT

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My 14-year-old son, who won’t even let me drop him off at the front door of his high school for fear of being seen in “the stickermobile,” is mortified. He and his classmates went on Google Earth in one of his classes Wednesday and located each of their homes, and it seems that my beloved “COEXIST” sticker on said car is visible from space. 

Haha! Though, I don’t believe this is how karma actually works, I still nearly bit a hole in my tongue as I refrained from telling him that perhaps it was payback for the snarky attitude he gave me on the way to school just the day before. He’d shaken his head and mumbled something like “Putting stickers on your car is just ... ” He never did finish that sentence. Apparently, there are no words.

My friend Karen suggested that perhaps someday Noah “will appreciate his hippy-chick mother.” Maybe, but I’m not holding my hippy-chick breath. 

It’s a fact of life for most parents and kids that the kids will be irked by their parents’ ways, from time to time. Holly made this clear, in no uncertain terms, Wednesday night. After a couple of cozy hours of fooling around together on the piano and conjuring an outfit for her to wear to the Drury Lane Theater to see “A Christmas Carol” with her class on Thursday, I admired something clever she had said. 

“How’d you get so smart?” I asked.

“I’ve lived with you for 11 years, and I do the opposite,” she replied, as she flashed me a grin and flounced out of my room.

“I think I’ll go to bed now,” I muttered, as I flopped onto my bed. I admire her moxie but sometimes marvel at just how many virtual bullets a mom can take in a day and still have the guts to get up the next morning. It boggles the mind.

My friend Sarah suggested that the fact that Holly feels free enough to joke with me and make comments like this is “a testament to what a good relationship you have.” 

Maybe. That’s what I keep telling myself, anyhow. 

Recently, Holly and I were in the ticket line at the movie theater and she whispered that I should do something different with my hair –  or perhaps it was a clothing issue. I can’t recall. 

Anyhow, sensitive to the possibility that she might be feeling embarrassed by my apparent fashion faux-pax I gently replied, “How ’bout I be me and you be you?” 

I admit that I wince whenever I sense my kids’ awareness of our differences – particularly when they find my ways offensive – but I think it’s a normal and necessary part of the process of them figuring out who they are and becoming their own people. They can be encouraged to do it nicely, however.  

Speaking of which, sorry, Mom, for all of the grief I gave you every time you were kind enough to drive me to school in your fire-engine-red station wagon. 

Yeah, karma sucks.

• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at jenniferdubose@msn.com.

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