Oh dear parents of mine: the following post does not give you permission to laugh at my expense nor text me with variations of “payback, baby!” Let’s just make that clear right now.
Tonight I had to say no to Daniela when all the other parents said yes. It was bile burning the back of my throat and no amount of wine or chocolate or guacamole is relieving it. I never EVER thought I would be the parent with stricter rules. Never envisioned myself being the party popper. I am the fun mom. I throw ridiculous birthday parties and have random sleepovers with no bedtime and midnight food fights in the driveway. I am not the “no” mom. But tonight I had to be that mom, and it sucked. *sorry Dad, I know you hate that word.
Daniela was invited to a birthday party sleepover for a friend of hers that she rarely gets to see anymore. We were both so pumped about it! The girls went to school together for years but Friend switched schools a few years back and it seems like regular play dates have turned into just birthday parties. Sadness. But tonight was going to be fun and Dani was both excited and a little nervous. You see, Friend would be the only girl she knew at the party. And in case you didn’t know, Daniela’s not exactly an extrovert. But she knew that with her handy-dandy iPod I was only a text away. With just one little dispatched codeword I would be there to pick her up, day or night. She was ecstatic when I dropped her off at the party, albeit a bit overwhelmed with the new girls. Thankfully it wasn’t a huge party. I kissed my girl and headed out to grocery shop.
I wasn’t at Whole Foods long before I got a text from Friend’s mom wanting to know if Daniela could watch The Hunger Games. All the other parents had agreed and they just needed my permission too. Damn. My stomach lurched. As much as I loathed being in that position, there was no way I was letting my 10 year old watch The Hunger Games. Not that I’m saying it’s inappropriate, but I haven’t seen the movie (or read the books) and from the snippets of trailers I’ve seen, it’s not something I want Daniela watching. It just wouldn’t be a good fit for her empathetic personality. I knew without even asking that Marco would agree with me. So I apologized and said no, that wasn’t ok for her to watch. Friend’s mom was super gracious and as it turns out, she agreed with me as well, but was willing to cede if I gave it a thumbs up.
All afternoon I fretted over how that played out for Daniela at a party where she only knew the birthday girl. I remember being 10, kids are hitting that unintentionally cruel middle school age. The last thing I wanted to do was single Dani out and embarrass her by being the only parent to say no. I was there a few times in my childhood and it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, ahem, Dad.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Daniela texted me after dinner and asked to watch the movie. I could just imagine the prodding of the other girls that prompted that text — Daniela doesn’t even like that genre of movies! This is the girl that left the room every time a Twilight trailer came on! Alas, my cool mom status is slipping. and it hurts. like, physically.
Poor Marco, all night I was this mess of blah. He offered wine, he offered a massage, he made jokes. He did everything in his power to coax me out of my funk but all I could think about was the time when I was 15 years old and my dad humiliatingly dragged my brother and me out of our bowling championship party because he didn’t approve of the music they were playing. Yes, we were on a bowling league. I promise it was cooler than it sounds. Regardless, it’s not even like Dad snuck in and whispered in our ears that we had to leave. Oh no, that would be too bearable. He marched in over at least 5 other lanes and demanded our exit. Did I mention he was our (very small) town’s probation officer? Icing on the cake, people. I was 15; obviously I didn’t go complacently. I didn’t get my trophy either. uuugghhhh.
The crappy part is that I feel like I’ve superimposed that experience on Daniela. Now, I understand that saying no to a movie is different than my bowling experience. I also understand that my memory of that night was probably a little more theatrical than my Dad’s. I mean, in my heart I know that saying no was good parenting for my child. But it still sucked. And you better believe Daniela is going to hear the Grandpa Mark story at bed time tomorrow.
But unlike the bowling scene, Daniela wasn’t totally mad at me. I still got hearts. (happy le sigh)