(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 37)
You die-hards out there may remember who I’m about to introduce (re-introduce?) you to - way back in December of 2016 I mentioned today’s guest poster in the “What I’ve Been Enjoying” section of the Sunday Paper.
I continue to enjoy her ‘Five on Friday’ posts (I recommend you check them out each week too - I’ll put some links at the end of the post) and I was overjoyed when I randomly happened upon her telling a story on The Moth podcast a few months ago.
I’m thrilled Gina Sampaio agreed to take over the Sunday Paper today. I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I do.
Since I don’t care when one of my five kids say I’m the Meanest Mom in The World™, I feel like I should apply that across the board and not put much stock into nice things they say about me either. But apparently I’m not too proud to admit that when our 15-year-old daughter declared that we were cool parents, I did do a secret little happy dance. I tried to act like it was no big deal, though, since cool people don’t, as a rule, dork out like that.
Two days later I went to Middle School Open House for her younger brother. Normally I’d skip that sort of thing since I already had two kids go through that school but I had heard some big changes were being implemented for the incoming class. I figured attending would be the responsible thing for me to do, plus it totally counted as getting out of the house for a few hours. During his welcome speech, the Principal warned the crowd of first-time 5th-grade parents that, “Sorry, folks, around this age is when your kids begin think you’re totally uncool.”
Of course I had my own private chuckle at that.
The next night at dinner, I reported to the family what he had said so they could laugh too. Surprisingly, my rising 5th grader piped up, “Yeah, that’s been true for me for like two years now. You guys are not cool at all.”
What do you mean not cool? Have you even seen some of the other parents around here, kid?? Do I ever wear Mom Jeans, Young Man? PEOPLE THINK I’M A VERY GOOD DANCER, I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW.
That whipper snapper is now in 7th grade and it’s only gotten worse. The eye rolls and “Oh my god, MOM” moments that his older siblings never hurled at me have been picking up speed. This is not the first time the older two did not adequately prepare me for the younger three, so this is not the first new trick this old dog has had to learn. What I learned was that I can either take offense at his attitude. . . or I can do my best to keep him as thoroughly embarrassed as possible.
And I, I choose the path more traveled . . . for example, the busier road on the way home from Grandma’s house. At each red light I pull up next to a stranger, turn the music up and have my own wild in-driver-seat dance party while my child slouches as lowly as possible in the back.
It turns out, I am really good at being embarrassing.
Almost as good as I am at dancing.
So this was fun! John and I follow each other on Twitter and enjoy each other’s writing but this was his first time asking a non-real-life friend to guest post and my first time guest posting like this. At first I was going to write about my oldest child turning eighteen, which is an adult, which means I’m old enough to have an adult child, which is weird and basically impossible, and means she’ll be going to college, which means life as we know it will come screeching to a miserable halt . . . uh, anyway, that topic was a bit too depressing. So I switched gears. I hope he likes it and that you do, too.
Oh writing, so elusive yet so cathartic. Mostly you happen in my head while I’m driving: answered texts, essays started or finished, never making it to my fingertips. It’s not just a matter of finding time, I also have to be in the right frame of mind. It was nice having a goal and a deadline for this as motivation because once I cranked it out, a few other things pushed their way to the front of the mental queue. (I’ve now written two essays on my daughter being a Senior in High School). Thanks for that, John.
My performances are not limited to car dancing. I’ve been known to tell a story or two onstage for Listen To Your Mother and The Moth. Currently my performances are mainly with The Meta Theatre Company, a social justice theatre company that I’m proud to be a part of. We’ll be performing in an original production based on scholar and fellow activist Dr. Karen Gaffney’s book “Dismantling the Racism Machine: A Manual and Toolbox.” Next month we’ll be supporting our “inside” cast (incarcerated at the only women’s prison in New Jersey) in performing their own original show.
Hi. It’s John again. I know I don’t usually do this at the end of the guest posts, but I have some important information:
You can follow Gina on Twitter @Sister_Serendip.
This is her Facebook page - give it a Like! - and here is the link to her website, where she posts the Five on Friday each week. (On Friday. Come on. Keep up.)