This reality is growing more concerning to me as my child grows older, enters school and gains the understanding that I am an embarrassing human being to be associated with. As an adult, I know that my weirdness can charm my friends. But my kid? The jury is still out.
As a result, here are 15 vows to my daughter as she begins her formal education in preschool this fall. The overarching theme: I vow to not be the most embarrassing mom, but I can do very little about being an embarrassing mom in general.
1. I vow not to show up wearing mom jeans. When in doubt, I will stick to cutoff jorts.
2. I vow to pack a lunch that isn’t just four cheese sticks and an apple. I could get away with this more regularly when I showed up to your day care and said, "Toddlers! She’s so picky these days — oh well, protein and fruit, who am I to complain?" Nervous laughter. Now that you can communicate and stuff, I think that season is over.
3. I vow to never again clean your face with the lick-wipe. You are a growing girl, so I recognize that you can lick-wipe your own face now.
4. I vow not to sing in the car in front of your friends. My beautiful singing voice is a joy I will save for you alone.
5. I vow not to wear a tube top very often. Because a vow to never wear a tube top just isn’t very practical.
6. I vow that I will stop calling you "baby girl" once you turn 18. Even I know that calling you "baby" has a shelf life.
7. I vow — on the days when I ask you to purchase a cafeteria lunch — that I won’t send you to complete the task with the 35 dimes I found in the bottom of my purse. Worst case scenario? Fourteen quarters.
8. I vow to let you win when it comes time to play one-on-one basketball. I would never think of embarrassing you by winning, like I know I can.
9. I vow not to sit too close to you when I attend your field trips. I will absolutely take numerous pictures from afar, though.
10. I vow to only be an appropriate mama bear, not a weird and overzealous one. Appropriate mama bears are a force to be reckoned with. Overzealous ones are a walking social disaster. I will do my best to navigate the difference between the two.
11. I vow to let you wear your hair however you want. You are not a young lady who appreciates bows, and I need to become OK with this. I will work to become OK with this.
12. I vow to help you with your homework. And my pathway to heaven shall be paved with this personal sacrifice.
13. I vow not to pick you up from school with any food or food remnants on my clothing. This seems to be a real problem for me, and I don’t know why.
14. I vow to assess the moment and make a split-second determination about whether or not high-fiving you will thrill or exasperate you. And I will attempt to be correct at least 60 percent of the time.
15. I vow to keep learning how to be your mom. Thank you for your patience. You didn’t come with an instruction manual or a textbook when I brought you home from the hospital, and it is so wild and confusing to observe how our relationship changes as you grow older and more independent with your own aspirations and dreams. I don’t always know what I’m doing, or how those toddler moments of you embarrassing me in public have now turned into those school-age moments in which I am suddenly embarrassing you. I vow that I will keep trying to be the kind of mildly-embarrassing mama that you deserve.
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