Embarrassing Parents

21 Sep

Do you remember when you were little and you thought your parents were great, and then all of a sudden all of that changed and you were totally embarrassed of them?  For me, it wasn’t gradual at all, and there wasn’t anything specific that embarrassed me about them, it was EVERYTHING. 

For instance, growing up in Texas and having parents that were democrats.  I didn’t know the specifics about politics, but I knew that all of my friend’s parents had Bush/Dukakis signs, and my parents were proudly displaying Clinton/Gore signs.  I cringed every time anyone came over and I just wished that my parents didn’t feel the need to be so public about their voting decisions.  Now, I can’t believe there was ever a point in my life that I was embarrassed that I had progressive parents.

Still another thing was the fact that my parents chose to listen to records, instead of moving along with the times and getting a CD player.  I could not understand why everyone around us was moving on to the latest in music, and we were still stuck in the 70′s with vinyl records.  But, without fail, my parents would turn on their record player and I would secretly jam out to some Lionel Richie in the corner. 

And, several years after my parents got married, they decided to go into the Peace Corps together in Guatemala.  During this time they got pregnant with my sister, and started a little family over there before returning a couple of years later.  When they came back, they definitely brought the Guatemalan culture back with them.  We had so many dishes, baskets and other Guatemalan paraphernalia adorning our home.  Not only that, we went to Mexico nearly every week to stock up on Mexican sodas and sparkling water.  When my friends would come over, I was horrified that I had to give them a Mexican coke in a bottle, or worse, poured out into a Guatemalan cup.  All my friends had normal sodas in a can at their house. 

And, my dad was insistent on making every meal from scratch.  No McDonalds or Pizza Hut with him.  But, I would cringe when my friends came over and my dad was slaving away in the kitchen making a totally foreign meal, when my friends probably would rather just order a pizza. 

Thankfully, I now realize just how ridiculous I was being.  Ironically, I feel like a lot of the qualities that my parents had, I now possess as an adult.  And, I feel so lucky that I had cultured parents that introduced us to a lot more than just what was “normal.”  I’m happy that I was able to live such a diverse life when I grew up in a small, Texas town.   I imagine that when Sean and I have kids, they’ll think I’m a huge embarrassment too.  In fact, I think I’ve already started embarrassing one of my nieces, and I’m not even her mom! 

Anyone else feel this way?

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6 Responses to “Embarrassing Parents”

  1. serena @bigapplenosh 09/21/2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Great post! I remember with painful clarity my parents’ embarrassing moments, but as they say – “the older you get, the smarter your parents become.” I know I’m quickly turning into my mom :)

  2. Mina 09/22/2010 at 7:29 am #

    your parents sound pretty awesome! but yes, i guess it’s universal that we’re going to be embarrassed of our parents at some point.

  3. Jessica 09/22/2010 at 10:07 am #

    I hated my parents for moving us around a lot because my dad was in the Army. Now that I’m older, I’m glad I got to experience different places.

    I bet your friends were secretly happy to come over and eat your dad’s worldly cuisine! :)

  4. Cathleya 09/22/2010 at 12:22 pm #

    How funny! I felt the same way, but a lot of it stemmed from the fact that we were an Asian family in a very white town. I particularly remember being embarrassed about my last name—which is ridiculous. People would label their coolers, towels, chairs, etc. with their last names and I always remember being embarrassed that my last name wasn’t something like “Johnson”. Even my first name, Cathleya…I made sure to just go by “Cathy” because it was “normal”. Now I love my real first name. And especially with the internet, I’m glad my name is different. Very easy to find me!

    I never had “normal food” for lunch—I always went to school with liverwurst sandwiches on crusty french bread or fancy cold cuts like sopressata… which of course I thought was tasty, but was really embarrassing. Why didn’t we eat bologna and American cheese? Ironically once I went to college I started eating all this “junk food” I never got to eat when I was a kid—Spaghetti Os, bologna, Easy Cheese. To be honest, I love both fancy and plain old junk food, but I never really got to eat “American” junk food growing up. I’ve noticed little kids lately seem to be more open to “different” foods though, so that’s cool! My neighbor kids LOVE sushi. Expensive dates! :)

    I could go on… but it’s so funny to reflect upon our childhoods and all the ways I wished I was just “normal.” Now I appreciate my parents for exposing me to so many different things and cultures!

    PS My dad met my mom in the Peace Corps, too! (Thailand)

    • kelsey@mintedlife 09/22/2010 at 4:32 pm #

      So true that little kids now are so much more cultured! My nieces know that they like sushi and they’re 3 and 6. And, they know how to pop the edamame out of it’s pod. It’s hilarious. But, that’s so interesting that your parents met in the peace corps! I don’t know many other people that even did it!

  5. Jackie Sears 10/18/2010 at 7:41 pm #

    Kels, I’m catching up on your website and just saw this one. You have captured us amazingly well and with love. I guess we were originals and so are you!!

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