Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Beer Goggles...on myself

So a friend pointed out after my last post that writing is my special purpose, she even resorted to calling me a shithead because I am such a moron that I didn't really think of this as a talent. My blog began with my making the effort to document what was going on with the girls. But once I started writing it, it took on a life of its own and became this cathartic outlet for me, not so much a sweet little memoir for them to read eventually.

But the thing is, it's easy to be honest and put it all out there when you don't know who or how many people are reading it. I had thought of it as a way to document life as a family until the same friend from High School wrote a response to a post that stuck with me. This is what she said, "I'm usually not a fan of 'All about me' blogs, but yours is exceptional." So a normal person would take this as a compliment, right? However, typical me, I could only focus on what I saw as the negative... how annoying does an, "All About Me" blog for a 36 year old sound? I mean, if you met someone and they told you to read their "All About Me" blog, what would you think? Uuggh, nothing like self promotion...but I guess mine is a little that way; OK, enough about you, let's talk about me....

So I started going back and looking at my recent posts, a task almost as painful as seeing how much you weigh, or what you look like in a magnifier without makeup...but when I did this I saw that my family journal type thing morphed quickly into just what she had said, an "All About Me" blog... Uh oh, that's not what I had intended, but I couldn't help it. When you're a Mother, it so rarely is "All About Me" that this seems to be my only arena, God help us... so to my readers, I apologize for making it all about me, but I guess can't control it. Oh shit.

Aren't there are so many times, especially when busy, when we can't see things for what they really are. Are there other parts of my life where I was so off the mark that I am not seeing the forest through the trees? I mean, it's like having Beer Goggles (remember that expression from college, when someone looks totally different and appealing to you once you get a good buzz on), but the beer goggles are on myself, "Oh no, it's not an all about me blog, I'm not really that narcissistic that I have to write about myself every day." Nope, not this girl. Uuuhhh, NOT.

And then I started thinking about how some parents have such beer goggles on their kids. Is there anything worse than a mother so proud that she'll tell any Tom, Dick or Harry who could give a shit how great her little darling is doing at t-ball or math? Elliot has an expression for this, it just hits the nail on the head so very well. "She thinks her kid shits ice cream," he'll say after enduring a brag session. I'm sorry, I'm not interested in hearing about how gifted your little Johnny is, in fact, as a standard rule for parents, I think bragging should only be reserved for grandparents, spouses, or truly best friends. Period. Because in general, nobody else wants to hear it.

But at the same time, we must walk the fine line of being humble yet exceedingly supportive, teaching lessons in pride while also showing grace and humility. It is a dance, and one I have yet to perfect. Yes, I want to champion their causes, but at the same time, at every toddler playgroup, if there was a crash, I could immediately blame Sumner or Marshall, as 99% of the time it was one of them. Likewise, when CeCe comes home reporting some injustice from the playground, I am realistic enough to say, "It stinks that she doesn't want to be your friend, but what did you say to her right BEFORE she said that..."

I'll bet most adults will agree that if there's anyone who has permanent beer goggles on a child is it a grandparent. Last year I took Elliot's Mom, Mimi with me to watch the girls at gymnastics class. She sat through the first few minutes quietly captivated at the talent of her granddaughters as I thumbed through People magazine. She then said matter-of-factly, "Don't you think they just sparkle. Don't ours have a magic you don't see in all the others?" As if perfectly timed I looked up at CeCe who was awkwardly trying to catapult herself over a mini vault with the grace of Bigfoot and then, not having listened to instructions, lumbered over to join the line of the wrong group. Sparkle? Not exactly. Stand out? Yes. But not necessarily in a good way.

So the at the next parent observation week for CeCe's gymnastics class, I went with a new attitude, wearing my beer goggles and determined to see said, "Sparkle." But minutes in it was clear that she was, in fact, the least skilled in the class. I proudly snapped photo after photo, determined to show my support REGARDLESS of her expertise. After all, isn't THAT what parents are for? To be there no matter how skilled we are?

So I am sitting there watching, trying not to cringe while CeCe and her best buddy Virginia, who was clearly the most adroit in the group which only magnified CeCe's awkwardness, have the most fun out of anyone. So I get that warm motherly feeling when the Romanian gymnastics coach approaches me to immediately burst my bubble. In a thick accent reminiscent of Bela Karolyi she says, "I do not think she know what I mean when I say, 'Tighten your muscles, CeCe.' She is marshmallow, non?" Uuuh, marshmallow? Maybe, but as her mother,I reserve the right to call her doughy....And then the coach proceeded to say, "Marshmallow," several more times in front of all the other parents and simulated a squeezing motion with her hands. Um, proud moment over. My next goal was to collect my little marshmallow and get out of there ASAP before she realized that the coach was calling HER a marshmallow and not handing out marshmallows to the class.

So the whole beer goggles thing has been on my mind, because as a parent, I have always thought that it is not my job NOT to express how perfect they are, but to have their backs even when they suck at something. I didn't care what the other parents in the group thought, I just didn't want CeCe to think she was anything less than awesome.

As for my self directed beer goggles, I'm just going to embrace being an 'All about me' blog writer and get over it already. I'll just keep telling myself it's a family memoir and then pour my own selfish thoughts and feelings out there for half the world to see. Call me self-centered, call me egotistical, whatever, I'm just gonna put my beer goggles on and write.

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