That Face

Miss C and I were walking back to our minivan after visiting Colonial Williamsburg last weekend, just the two of us.

Martin and the younger two were a few steps behind, slowed down by Lola’s dissatisfaction about leaving the place.

Miss C was not impressed.

“Why does she have to act like that?” she asked.

“Act like what?” I asked.

“In public. Why does my family have to be so embarrassing?” she asked.

“Oh, that’s not embarrassing,” I said. “You know what’s embarrassing?”

And then I broke out in song.

Not just any song, but the song Martin and I have sung to her since she was born. So I know every word by heart. Every note.

And I sing it with confidence.

This used to bring a huge smile. But instead, she covered her face with her hands, and fell back away from me, waiting for her Dad to catch up with her. When he rolled passed with the stroller, she dropped her hands.

“Mom’s embarrassing me,” she declared.

“She is? How so?” Martin asked.

“She’s singing!”

Without missing a beat, Martin opened his mouth and joined me in the second verse.

As you may know, Martin isn’t really blessed with a singing voice.

But there we were, two parents singing our hearts out to our oldest daughter while Lola cried and Jaz fussed.

Miss C sighed, her face twisted into a look of amused mortification.

I lifted my camera and took the picture.

That face.

That change.

It’s here.

That time in one’s life when it dawns on you that your parents can be … uncool.

No worries: I expect it. I’ve been there. (With my Dad, I think I’m still there – ha, ha!) I think Martin and I are ready for it. We’re ready to play this up when the moment is right, although I’m sure most of the things that will truly mortify our daughter (and the rest of them, for that matter) will be unintentional.

I know this is just a part of growing up. Our kids can’t always think we’re the best, that everything we do is awesome/hilarious/brilliant. While I could tell last weekend that Miss C wasn’t too bothered by our serenade, I know there will come a time when she’ll be seriously annoyed by our antics.

This is all bittersweet, of course. Because when it comes to making faces, dancing in public, being witty and silly … she’s been my girl. In a way, I’ll be losing my partner-in-crime. Not that I think her willingness to get goofy will completely evaporate as we enter these tween years. She’ll just be more selective, you know, with her moments.

And in those moments when our senses of humor don’t sync up perfectly anymore, I know what I’ll do.

I’ll just break out in a smile as I remember that face.

Miss C being silly in 2009, age 5.