|Posted on October 9, 2015 at 4:50 PM|
It’s pretty much a parent’s job to embarrass their kids. It’s an unwritten law that has been going on since Eve spit on Cain’s cowlick. Despite the level of embarrassment you, yourself, endured as an adolescent at the hands of your own parents when you swore, “I’ll never do that!” there you are doing “that” and this and the other.
No one starts out the day saying, “Today, I’m going to the market, pick up the dry cleaning, deposit that check and oh, yes, embarrass my kid.” Pretty much it just happens. Like finding money on the ground in the parking lot, which is a good thing. Or running into an ex in the supermarket when you look like crap, which is a bad thing. But, in any case, not what you planned. Stuff happens.
So when we took our son, Cory up to UCLA to begin his college experience, my only intention was to get him there safe and to see for myself where he would be living for the next nine months.
Earlier in the day, in true Cory fashion, he left us a funny note to wake him up.
“Please wake me no later than 9. I promise to wear underwear.”
This was informative and thoughtful considering just days earlier Shea snuck into his room to grab a “big brother” shirt to wear to school and instead was stopped in her tracks by the furry, red Neanderthal lying on top of the covers in all his glory. All I heard was a door slamming and “Uuuuuuugggggghhhh! I’m never getting married!”
Since I’m a hip with the hap and cool with all that, I naturally tweeted this clever note complete with hashtags #gonnamissthatguy and #UCLAbound. A little bit of knowledge truly is dangerous.
With Cory driving and Shea and Pepper snoozing in the back seat, I began checking my Facebook page to find a message.
“No way!” I gasped.
“What?!” Cory responded, thinking something terrible happened.
“UCLA Housing favorited my tweet!” I replied excitedly.
“Should I even ask?”
When I read it to him, his expression was the same as the time I told him I accidentally invited his friends to “snap chat” with me. How was I supposed to know you couldn’t just add them secretly?
I hadn’t even dropped him off and already I was at Strike 1.
Cory says that Pepper and I both embarrass him equally, but differently. Pepper embarrasses him in small ways on a regular basis. I, on the other hand, do so less frequently but in grand style. Like the time I got locked in the high school courtyard between a classroom and the Performing Arts Theatre, where Cory and his team were in the middle of an mprov competition against a rival school. The gate was padlocked from outside and it seemed the only way out was through an open door I spotted. As I felt my way through the darkened room, I could hear muffled sounds coming from behind a huge black curtain. I peered around that curtain to see about a dozen kids lined up on the stage. Before I could turn heel, one pair of eyes caught mine. Those beautiful, caramel eyes that used to stare up at me in adoration when I held that baby in my arms were now wide open and staring in shock. He was mouthing something, motioning widely with eyebrows and arms.
“C’mon out and find yourself a seat, Mom!” he appeared to say.
Which I promptly did tiptoeing along the perimeter of the stage down the stairs to the floor.
Apparently, I don’t read pantomime so well. He was actually trying to say, “Go away! Go away! You’re not my mother!”
All this “silent” commotion drew attention to me under the bright lights of center stage.
“Who is that?!” yelled the referee.
“It’s Cory’s mother!” someone shouted out with glee.
“Cory, that’s your Mom? the ref continued. “What’s her name?”
Barely audible, Cory replied, “Judy.”
That’s when everyone on stage began chanting, “Judy! Judy! Judy!” Soon the entire audience joined in. “Judy! Judy! Judy!” as I sheepishly made my way up the aisle to take a seat next to Pepper and Shea, who was now covered under her hoodie and slunk into the seat.
Today, as we we pulled up through the line of cars winding their way to move-in day drop off points, Cory looked at Pepper through the rear view mirror.
“Don’t say anything to anybody,” he chided.
“Me? What did I do? I’m not the one who twattered to the world!” she protested. “So, I can’t even speak to your roommate, Carlos?”
“Oh, that reminds me,” he continued. “Please don’t walk up to any random Hispanic male on campus and say, ‘Are you Carlos?’”
In silence, we made it to his new digs. Carlos had already checked in, laying claim to his side of the room. Just like a man, Cory immediately surveyed the two areas.
“He has about 8 inches more than I do.”
On each bed was a lovely hand-woven backpack with the UCLA logo emblazoned on the front.
“Look!” Pepper exclaimed. “Welcome gifts for you and Carlos.”
“It’s nice, but it looks kinda feminine, don’t you think?” I said.
“Yeah,” Cory agreed. “Let’s give it to Shea. She’ll love it.”
I flung the pack over my shoulder, snapped a few shots of the room and my boy and we were ready to surrender him. Just then, Carlos arrived and Cory made the introductions.
“Hi,” I said. “I’m Judy.”
Pepper smiled and nodded and said nothing as instructed, but stepped behind Cory to mouth to Carlos.
“I’m not allowed to talk to you.”
As the awkwardness hovered in the air like a green cloud, it was apparent that it was time to leave. Cory walked us out to the courtyard where we made our very classy, unemotional good byes. Although, I did hear distant cries of “Why?! Why?! Why do you want to leave us?!” and there was at least one crazy broad hanging on the boy’s leg as he tried to drag himself back in the building. But that had nothing to do with us.
Just as we got back to the car, I received a frantic text from Cory.
“Bring that bag back! Carlos had them made for us!”
Cory rushed down to meet us at the car to retrieve the purloined bag and explain what happened.
“He says, ‘hey dude, did your Mom take that bag I made you?’ and I, being a Lane, said, ‘what bag?’ He showed me his and said that he had them made special for us. So I said ‘yeah, my moms are always doing sh*t like that.’”
And so it begins. The payback for all the embarrassment his Moms caused over the years—daily and bi-annually, respectively. He has now painted one mom as a silent whack job and the other as a klepto.
Upcoming parents’ weekend should be quite the experience. Pepper plans to bring Carlos and Cory matching boxer shorts. I have something much, much bigger in mind, naturally. I hear Pauley Pavilion can accommodate thousands…
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