Saturday I mentioned that at long last I got to chaperone a field trip with our daughter’s school. Given that our daughter is 13 I made a mental note that I should be careful not to do or say anything that might embarrass her. The trip was for the 7th and 8th grade classes to pack food for Feed My Starving Children. This facility packs dried food for food aid organizations where starvation and digestive disorders are prevalent. Kids and adults mix prescribed dried ingredients at well-organized stations in a fun atmosphere in which pop music is usually playing.
Lots of adults and kids alike were singing along to the songs while we packed and some of the girls put their hands up when Beyonce told them to when Single Ladies came on. I kept to my pledge not to embarrass our daughter until YMCA came on at which time I made the quick mental note that there are people who are silly and do the arm movements when that song comes on and there are people who don’t. I decided in a moment that I am one of those people who will still be 90 years old, God willing, and still get a laugh out of seeing people do those stupid YMCA arm movements. Fortunately I was not alone when it came time for the beat that precedes the first Y-M-C-A in making the decision to do the arm movements. Some of the parents had decided the arm movements weren’t for them but I looked over at Sophie and she smiled when she saw me doing them and joined in.
On the way home I remembered an old friend talking about the time her parents embarrassed her the most as a teenager. “Our family was at a wedding,” she explained, “and suddenly my parents walked onto the dance floor together and danced. My siblings and I were mortified.” Good thing she didn’t see me doing the YMCA arm movements.
I was at a graduation a week ago. Our Fabulous Future Daughter-in-Law earned her master’s from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. (FFDIL earned MAPP from UMFSPP.) The beloved professor who’d been invited to speak gave a warm talk. At the end he told everyone to stand up to do an exercise he did in class, making arm movements to signify different symbols. He added a couple the students didn’t know. And suddenly we were all doing the gestures for Y M C A!
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Good for you, Weeks! It’s a delicate balance between not embarrassing our kids, yet still letting them know that we all have the freedom to celebrate life and have fun without the concern of other’s opinions!
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(I try to do most of my goofy things in the car with them as not to have them worry about others seeing… but sometimes we still pass a friend’s car while my arms and head are bobbing and swinging around to the music…LOL!)
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