And if you give her enough leg room, she can pull off a pretty fluid Pop, Lock ‘n Drop in aisle 14 of the grocery store too. And she really doesn’t care who’s watching. You see child, your Mom was a teenager of the late 80’s and early 90’s. She was firmly in the clutches of puberty when Salt ‘n Pepa and Sir Mix-A-Lot were telling her to push (it) her (baby got) back all over the place. She already knows how to shuffle, except it’s called the Running Man and it was cool before you were even a careless whisper in her ear. Your Mom what? It’s true. I know I embarrass you and quite frankly, you sweet little bundle of zits and insolence, I don’t care. I’m not so far removed from your candy coated world of glitter, Skittles and Justin Bieber that I’ve forgotten. It’s just that I occasionally need to interrupt the dance party to muddle through a few adult issues like paying bills, cooking your supper, washing your clothes and hauling your behind from to and fro.
But your perspective bubble is small, I know this. It might currently be your job to think I’m an embarrassing slob who knows nothing about being 13 years old but rest assured it’s also my job to keep you humble with my publicly mortifying attempts at Beat-Boxing. You see, I love you. In fact, I adore you into a million tiny pieces that I’d like to scoop up and keep in my pocket forever. I’d keep you just as you are, in this moment, if I could. But despite my unsuccessful pleads for you to stay small, you’re growing and changing at a terrifyingly rapid rate and although I know I’ll soon lose you to the adult world, I try so hard to connect with you in your teenaged world. You’re beautiful despite your finicky petulance and adolescent clumsiness. You’re beautiful covered in acne cream, lip gloss and smelling like a poorly executed science experiment involving a cotton candy machine, cocoa butter and a fry daddy.
I’ll be here, whenever you need me and every moment you don’t think you do, to keep you loved, fed, clean, often grounded and as frequently as my hips can tolerate, embarrassed by impromptu busting of moves and unnecessarily loud shouts calling for you to stop picking your nose.
And so I say to all the young, fresh, funky, hipster parents on the cusp of Generation X and Y: you still got moves. You’re as young as you allow yourself to feel and whatever it is that makes you want to get up and dance, don’t let that moody little teenager stop you. They actually like it; they’re simply incapable of showing you that right now. But if I could travel back in time and thank my own mother for rapping and turning tables in front of my friends, I would. I remember her cranking Bonnie Raitt and wailing along to “Something To Talk About” while my friends looked on with suspicious curiosity. Of course, all I could focus on was curling into a tiny ball and rolling far, far away to wherever it was that death lived. Turns out, I not only remember those moments fondly, but I take careful notes from them when writing my own parenting journal.
So don’t let your angst-ridden teenager bring your Tootsee Roll down with their rolling eyeballs. You never lost your coolness baby and there ain’t no shame in doing the Sprinkler across the kitchen tile in those super fly MC Hammer pants you kept in your bottom drawer all these years. Fluorescent geometric patterns never went out of style and you were a true visionary to realize that.