I started writing this 5 days ago. FIVE DAYS! It is NOT like me to half finish an article. Okay, yes it totally is like me, I’ve got half-finished articles all over the place, but that’s because they haven’t flowed; this one was FLOWING. Unfortunately, a bigger flow came along because motherhood called and when that flow hits you, it takes over your entire life…
I’ve spent two of the last three days going to Armidale to pick up Keeley from school. She’s having her tonsils out on Monday and it’s her birthday tomorrow. All in all, a big weekend. I’m hoping that the attitude and reticence is anxiety about the operation because right now, I’m putting up with quite a lot of teenage ways of behaving that I normally wouldn’t tolerate for more than about 10 seconds. And it’s bloody exhausting. Swear to god, you couldn’t pay me enough to be a teenager. I like having a lot of money, but I don’t like it that much, I can tell you. The angst, the uncertainty, the wanting to fit in, the wanting to never conform (usually both of the last two at the same time), the hormones, the embarrassing parents.
John does an amazing job of being an embarrassment to his children. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any dad who was quite so accomplished at it. Except mine. My dad did an awesome job at embarrassing his children, with his specialty being The Dance. This one came out at family do’s and weddings. He would drag me – pretty much kicking and screaming – onto the dance floor and insist that I “dance” with him. His “dance” involved doing this weird thing where he’d stand on one leg with the other stuck out in front of him, and then do a kind of twist on the heel of his front leg, all the time exhorting me to do the same thing, while I invariably stood there, cringing with embarrassment as the rest of the family/friends formed an encouraging (?) ring around us. The grown-ups no doubt knowing exactly what my father was doing and cheering him on wholeheartedly and the younger ones displaying both patent relief that they weren’t the chosen sacrifice at this family get-together and glee at someone else’s acute embarrassment of their parents’ behaviour.
The thing is, we all knew – know – that Dads do this totally on purpose. Totally. They know EXACTLY what they’re doing and I’m sure that it’s built into them at a genetic level when they become fathers: “oh look, there goes the little sperm, yes, he’s in there! Look, it’s all happening, I’m going to be a father” and bam! He suddenly has this built-in desire – NEED, even – to be a complete embarrassment and do things that are going to make his children cringe for years to come. And weird dance moves seem to be a base part of that genetic makeup. I’ll bet even John Travolta has some weird dance moves that he embarrasses his kids with.
Or maybe it simply all boils down to Adam. Maybe Adam had this hilarious idea at some gathering of his clan that the whole evening was a bit boring and his kids were a little too prim & proper & thought too much of themselves, so he was going to lighten the atmosphere, let his hair down a little, poke a bit of harmless fun at one of his sons and get on the dancefloor to show his kids how to really enjoy themselves… and his sons have been wreaking revenge on their children ever since.
Keeley, being the youngest of four, has generally seen it all before and takes it all in her stride, with an almost subvocal snigger in recognition of what her Dad’s doing. If he applies it to her, most of the time, he just gets an eye roll and a sigh; she’s very difficult to get going in the ‘embarrassing parents’ category (except when her Dad starts dancing. Then she tries to leave the building in all haste). Jamie, being the eldest, is much more satisfying prey. We apparently managed to embarrass him so much in a restaurant when we went down to visit him, that he says he’ll never be able to show his face in there again. I don’t even know what we did. His dad hadn’t started dancing or anything.