I Vow to Never Embarrass My Daughter – at Least Not on Purpose

Except the dogs...

Except the dogs…

Long before I took on the burden of humiliating myself on a regular basis, my step-father was more than happy to perform the job himself.  It wasn’t a difficult task.  Unfortunately, I cared way too much about what other people thought of me, and my step-father was good at leveraging this weakness.

One Saturday, when I was about 11 or 12, the doorbell rang.  It was early afternoon, but I was still in my pajamas, my hair tousled, my teeth unbrushed.  There were four people in the house at the time, three of whom were actually dressed.  I was told to look out the peephole to see who it was. I did, and reeled back quickly from the door.

“It’s John Doodah*!” I whispered frantically.

John Doodah was our paperboy.  He was also the cutest boy in my class and I had a wild crush on him.

“Well, answer the door,” my step-father said.

I was horrified.  “No, please don’t make me answer it,” I begged.

“Answer it,” he said sternly.

And I did, mentally rehearsing what I would say that Monday when I got to school, “Oh, John.  I hear you met my cousin.  Isn’t she a mess?”

I never said that to him, mostly because I could never get up the courage to speak to him.  To this day, I am convinced that my ascent to the Peak of Popularity was effectively derailed that Saturday morning, and as soon as John told all of his friends about my disheveled appearance, they took out the tracks and the ski-lift and anything else that could get me up to the Peak.

Fast forward thirty-four years to today.  I am taking one of my infrequent Days of No Obligation.  This is when I give myself permission to lay around all day, reading books, in my pajamas.  At around 1:00, I decided to eat lunch.  My 10-year-old daughter, who was also in pajamas because I did not feel the obligation to tell her to change, was watching T.V. in the living room.

The doorbell rang.  The dogs leapt from their resting places and barked frantically.

We looked at each other.  My daughter snuck over to where I was.  We peeked out to the living room window, where we could see the caller standing on the front porch.

“Who is it?” I said.

“It’s the boy across the street.”  (Who happens to be in her grade level.  At her school.  Which also happens to be the school where I teach.)

“Go answer it,” I said.

“No!” she said, horrified.  “You go answer it!”

“I’m in my pajamas!”

“So am I!”

I thought back to the John Doodah Fiasco.  How it had essentially ruined my life.  How this was one of those decisive moments when I could teach my child about character, how appearances shouldn’t be so important, how parents are in control and can make their kids do whatever they say.

“Let’s keep hiding back here,” I said.

And we cowered in the kitchen until the coast was clear.

I think I made the right decision.

*This name has been changed to protect me from being further embarrassed in case John Doodah ever reads this post  the innocent.

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Posted on March 11, 2013, in Children, Dimples, Family, Humor, Parenting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. You definitely made the right decision.

  2. Nothing like a bit of mother/daughter bonding 🙂

  3. Great choice! That moment that you forced her to be embarrassed would have overshadowed a million good memories that she had of you…instead you made a GREAT one of how you saved her!

  4. Now that’s a bonding moment!
    I imagine my life would be quite different if my family hadn’t teased me so much for my boyhood crushes…

  5. Ooooh I remember those moments, absolute exhilaration…at our age we shouldn’t be subjected to such rushes of adrenaline…jajajaaaaa… I’ve got a 12 year old and she knows that now I’ll open the door no matter how terribly fabulous I look… I am at a time in my life where being in pijamas with no make up is not the worse I can look…there will be worse I am sure of that… But I’ll fixodent and forget it! Read you soon, Alexandra

  6. Hey, it’s either hide or see how fast you can change your clothes, right? Meanwhile, my second-grader did answer the door in her pajamas this week. I don’t guess she’s hit that stage yet. I was ready to lie for her and everything.

    • Look at you, all prepared! I don’t know why I didn’t have something up my own sleeve, considering I’m still traumatized by that childhood experience. Maybe you can share your lies with me so I can use them next time.

  7. I pretend no one is home every time someone knocks on the door. It gets annoying when they don’t get the hint and keep knocking.

  8. Love it!!! Right move.

  9. I answered the door three mornings last week (by mornings I mean 11am) in my pajamas. The t-shirt I wore those mornings (not consecutive mornings to be clear) has a giant mouth with gold teeth and letters that read – I’m so gangsta.

    I must learn to use the peephole.

  10. So sweet that your remember ‘John Dooda’s’ name. Nothing like the wisdom of a mom.

  11. you absolutely made the right decision.

  12. She will love you all the more for it I’m sure!

  13. Good choice! I’d have done the same thing. Nothing like a little adolescent humiliation to derail the climb up the popularity ladder! Bless you for saving poor Dimples. 😉

  14. Great decision! I love hanging in my pjs on Saturdays, but I, too, will not answer the door. 😉

  15. great post, i know all about image i have mastered the art of ducking and covering when i see people who go to my school since teens have a way of not keeping their mouths shut, and i really don’t want to imagine the “hey i saw you with your mom saturday” conversation where i end up getting overly defensive.
    keep up the good blogging 🙂

  16. Meanie step dad! My kids know all about hiding when the doorbell rings. I wish we didn’t have a big window on our door though because it’s extremely hard to find out who is at the door without being seen.

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