There are certain ways in which I’ve always been lame: I feel scared when a 9 Inch Nails song comes on, for me the B-word is b00b and the F-word is f@rt, and I have an eye pad that is stored in the fridge which I wear when I have a headache and I do call it my iPad.
But there are other ways in which I have become lame over time almost entirely as a result of being a parent. I felt it happening—I willingly let it happen. And here I am on the other side of it.
First of all, you are primed to get more lame through a process of humiliation. Birthing, touching feces, suffering public tantrums and the like strip you of your pride. Once you’ve lost your pride, it’s a slippery slope to lame. Because to be cool—to stay cool—you need your pride to keep you from doing embarrassing, “uncool” things. Many of those uncool things take place in KinderMusic circles, Cub Scout meetings, and in the privacy of your own home as you seek to appease your child. You’ll read books that have ugly illustrations, offer blankies that aren’t vintage, and sing mainstream bubble gum pop if that is what’s called for. It’s not that you don’t know. You are just over it. Sad? Mature? Disappointing? Enlightened? I don’t know. But there it is.
You’ll spend a huge chunk of your savings on a straight-forward trip to Disneyland instead of an ironic, mustached, pilgrimage to the Grand Ole Opry. And—here’s what makes you truly lame instead of simply selfless or just a good sport—you’ll enjoy it.
You’ll face off against a surly teenager one morning and instead of calling him on it or making a whole thing out of it you’ll attempt to jolly him up with seemingly oblivious cheerfulness and a bright, falsetto, “RISE AND SHINE!’ Here’s what that surly teenager won’t know for another twenty years: you are an intelligent, self-aware human being who knows that it is hard to get out of bed in the morning and, guess what? He’s the reason you have to.
It’s the same type of situation when you ask your daughter what her plans are for scooping the cat litter. It approximates playing dumb. But you aren’t an idiot. You know scooping the cat litter isn’t fun and you know she hasn’t “made plans” to do it. And yet, there you are like some kind of ridiculous cruise director who thinks people put “Scoop Cat Litter” at the top of their To Do lists. And—again, here’s the thing—you do.
I’m not saying it’s good or bad, right or wrong. I’m just explaining the process. It happens slowly over time but one day you’ll wake up and realize you’re that person who hums all the time, likes cottage cheese, and appears to enjoy ironing.
You’re yer mom.