The other day I came across a really cool story about a stay-at-home dad in Utah who dressed in costume everyday for the entire school year to wave goodbye to his 16-year-old son as he headed off on the bus.
You really can’t look at this clip without a sly smile creeping over your face. I mean, really, who among us, has not had a parent embarrass us at one time or another? But there’s something about Dale and Rain Price’s story that is so heart warming you can’t watch it without a sly smile creeping across your face. Why is that? Is it the shy son? The father’s creativity? Or something more?
I thought about that story this past weekend when my kids performed their rock music recital at the legendary Bitter End in Greenwich Village in New York. In case you don’t know, The Bitter End is a big, damn deal. Stars like Peter, Paul and Mary, the Isley Brothers, even Lady Gaga have all graced the tiny stage there. Now you can add to that list, Casey and Cole!
I’m sure Lady Gaga’s path to The Bitter End stage (working tiny clubs, writing her own music until she was discovered) was very different from my kid’s (parents paying through the nose for music lessons and having their kids on stage on a Saturday afternoon when the place would be empty anyway) but that’s neither here nor there.
Of course this is not the first time I’ve come to my kids’ shows. And, as in years past, I have taken more pictures than photographers at the Academy Award’s step-and-repeat wall. But something was different this year. What is it? I can’t quite put my finger on it. Oh yeah, my son is a teenager now. That means I’ve gone from being the super cool mom to being super annoying in 2.2 seconds. I got some great shots of the kids on stage but when I tried to snap candids of my son, the little bugger would hide behind something or someone. The icing on the cake was Cole coming over to where I was sitting (right at the foot of the stage) and through clenched teeth and in front of his buddies saying, “You are SO annoying!”
I’m not gonna lie, those words, delivered with deft precision, cut to the core. Me? Annoying? I was just being supportive. How is THAT annoying? But the more I thought about it the more incredulous I became. You know why? Because this kid has been annoying me for nearly 14 years! (I am counting the 38 weeks in utero. He couldn’t sit still then either). There are more instances of “annoying” behavior than I can count. Take this morning for example. My baby boy has a little summer cold but you’d think his life was hanging in the balance. “My throoooooat is sooooooore.” I give lozenges. “They’re not helllllllllping.” I give hot tea. “I don’t like teeeeeeeeea.” I give coffee. “It needs to be heeeeeeeated up.” And he’s calling ME annoying?
But back to Dale and Rain Price for a minute. Did you happen to watch how Rain was talking about his dad? The entire time he had a smile on his face. While the story was about how Dale “embarrassed” his son, I don’t think Rain saw it like that, at least not for long.
See at the end of the day, our kids want to know that we cared. Dale Price cared enough to dress up everyday for his son and trust me, the son reaped the benefits at school (“Hey man, aren’t you the kid with the hilarious dad?”).
Cole will figure it out someday too. He’ll understand that there are other words that can be substituted for “annoying”; words like caring, loving and proud. Maybe not today, tomorrow or next year because right now it’s cool to think your parents are dorks. But soon he’ll get it. I suspect when Cole becomes a parent. In the meantime, he’d better get ready because I plan to continue smothering him with my annoying behavior because that’s what parents do
That’s my story, how about you? Have you ever been accused of being “annoying” by your kid? What were you doing and did they ultimately understand? Start sharing…