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Thursday, May 30, 2013

8th grade graduation or how I became THAT mom and the Epic Fail


I've debated off and on weather or not to post this story.  In the spirit of helping other mamas not feel like they are complete failures and alone, I have decided to post it.
Or maybe not.
I'll have to see if my finger actually hits the publish button on this one or not.
This is Patch's 8th grade graduation.

Can you spot him in the crowd?   Not sure which one he is, you say?  Oh, let me be real specific so you don't miss him...
See the boy wearing the beige tie and white dress shirt and dress slacks in the front row?  That's not him.
See the young man in the second row from the bottom wearing a blue dress shirt and red tie?  The one studiously paying attention to the ceremony?  That's not him either.
Can you spot the likely freshly-bathed boy sitting in the front row, with the khaki dress slacks and button-up shirt with the blue and gold striped tie and dark dress shoes?  I bet his mama made him wear deodorant too.  That's not Patch either.
As a matter of fact none of the young men who are sharply and appropriately dressed for such an event, with dress shirts and ties and dress shoes and coordinating belts... none of them are Patch!
In the midst of this group of young people who were showing off their accolades and marking a transition in their lives by at least being presentable... my son is the one wearing SHORTS!  And TENNIS SHOES!  With holes in them!  We're really stinkin' lucky he has on a shirt with a collar! And it was only divine intervention and/or a pure coincidence that we just happen to have hair cuts the day before!

Oh yes!  I was that mom that didn't have her son dress appropriately for the event.  The only mom I'll have you know!  That mom that apparently didn't have enough time to read to the end of the email.  That mom that ducked her head in shame and simultaneously beamed with pride.  Oh goodness, I thought... for the love of God Puh.Leazzzze do not let him be seated in the front row!  God, if you have any extra brownie points for me up there, please let him be in the back row so not as many folks notice his knock-kneed legs and lack of tie in a sea of dress slacks!  Nope.  No such luck!  There he was front and center of 100+ graduates for all the other email-reading mommies to see.

I sat there with my mother-in-law as the young people filed in and instantly realized my fail.  I obviously thought this was a much more casual event.
Wrong.
Fail.
I seriously had to hold back my own tears.  I was mortified.  And not because my boy was growing up before my eyes, but because he was wearing shorts!  What was a celebration of him suddenly became about me.  That fact wasn't lost on me either and made it all the worse.  when another mom actually came up to me after it was over and said she liked his haircut, it threw me over the edge.

I'm still not sure how it happened.  I'm not sure if I missed an email.  Maybe that's what happens when you don't choose to be on the PTO committee that organizes the event.  I'm not sure if my tie and dress slacks aversion yet very creative problem solving man-child decided to not pass on the memo to yours truly.  The good news is that sure to his out-of-the-box style, it didn't seem to phase him in the least.  He could have cared less, and that seems to throw some credibility to the he-just-just-didn't-want-to-get-dressed-up-and-chose-not-to-give-mom-the-note theory.  Regardless, I feel awful that I wasn't in the loop enough to prevent it from happening.

This will be funny some day... right?

25 comments:

  1. I have my own photo when I was in Kindergarten for the Christmas program. All the girls were in their velvet dresses and I was in corduroy pants and a super ugly shirt. My mother was mortified and still talks about it, even though I'm 39. I fortunately, don't remember a thing.

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  2. Can I go out and have a glass of wine with your mom? Especially since I'm going to still be thinking about this 34 more years at least!

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  3. Oh girl, I feel ya. TOTALLY missed more than 1 memo...

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  4. Your son is the individual. The one who will stand up for his own beliefs and his sense of right and wrong. The one who will not be swayed by mere peer pressure alone. He is comfortable in his own skin and comfortable being who he is in the face of great opposition. If that isn't an amazing accomplishment at the end of 8th grade, I don't know what is. Take another look at that photo and remember what other people think says a lot about them and very little about you. Look at your son. He looks amazing! Confident and secure and ready for the next level of life challenges. Plenty of the kids in that photo look unsure. Look uncomfortable. Look like they're trying hard. Patch looks completely at ease. Well done Mama!

    (Says the girl who wore pants with holes in the knees and t'shirts when all the other girls wore dresses and bows in kindergarten-- if it bothered my mother, she didn't let on until I was 21 and not dressing in silk and pearls to go to Les Miz with the family...)

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    1. Oh Annika! Thank you. He's such a great kid. I totally would have been the kid that would have been mortified and likely projected it on my mom. And yes, that says tons about me.

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    2. It is so hard to let go of societal expectations. I think particularly for women-- we're raised (by our entire culture-- not blaming moms here!) to pay attention to all that stuff and make sure everything is in order. And sometimes that matters-- someone has to make sure the lunch box gets in the backpack, the lawn gets mowed, the Christmas lights come down before the Easter bunny appears... But sometimes they're just silly expectations that put pressure on all of us. It was his day. Who cares if he wasn't dressed the way others thought he should be? Let yourself off the hook and relish his independence and self-confidence. (Ya gotta enjoy it now because odds are those same traits are going to make you more than a little crazy over the next four years... ;^)

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  5. He was probably the envy of every other guy there (likely including a few in the audience.) And you, well, you were the uber cool mom who let him thumb his nose at convention and go in shorts and tennis shoes!

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    1. Oh YEA baby!!! That is SOOO the story I'm going with now! I'm the uber cool mom! Oh YES I AM!

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  6. Funny someday? Its funny NOW!! If he doesn't care, no one else's opinion matters anyway!

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  7. I'm glad you shared. Because I live that life. Good on You! Brave mama- no shame. Yes, it will be funny.

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  8. We had the opposite happen once, a few years back. (Actually, it was MANY years back -- I think I was in college!) My dad was speaking at some awards gala and since he's on television, he built it up like it was a black tie affair and we'd have to be red carpet ready. (I think he really thought that, bless his heart, ha!) So my mom and I got our hair done, got fancy dresses and make-up and the works, and my dad had purchased a new suit -- and on we went, in up-do's and pinned curls and fancy dresses only to show up to this place where everyone else in attendance was in shorts or jeans. It was mortifying, but years later, these are our favorite pictures and favorite story to laugh at!

    Surely this will be the same!

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  9. I was that mom a couple of weeks ago when I failed to get my son dressed in appropriately clothing for his 8th grade dance.

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    1. I've been THERE too! And it was my daughter. Inappropriate dress can go so wrong so fast.

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  10. He is the only kid there that looks comfortable with himself... at 8th grade that is a HUGE accomplishment! You are THAT mom! Hugs.

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    1. Well I think I could LIKE THAT mom. Feels much better!

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  11. Nancy - there is little that I can add - except that I'm proud of him obviously NOT being bothered in the least. You guys have raised a young man that is comfortable with himself - and that is cool in the extreme! And I'm with Annika - allowing HIM to make the decision about what to wear IS uber cool!

    Exceptionally well done - now get off your own back!!

    hugs - aus and co.

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  12. Smiling as I read this :) Been there too!

    Blessings!

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  13. Thank you for a the GREATEST BELLY LAUGH on this side of SOUTHEAST TEXAS this morning!! Patch so reminds me of my youngest son. He was the most laid back kid who went against the grain that I have ever given birth too!! He isn't swayed "by the masses" and I love that about him (well sometimes)!

    I still shake my head in wonder why he wears SUMMER CLOTHES in the WINTER and WINTER CLOTHES in the SUMMER!! Just mindboggling!!! Against the grain is one thing, but insane is a completely different ballgame!! However, he is completely and totally the most laidback kid I have given birth too. I tell him all the time, you even took your time being born and decided to enter the world "butt first", that was my first clue...THIS KID IS GONNA BE PRETTY INTERESTING!!

    All and All ....I admire Patch for being an individual and being comfortable in his own skin. I have to lovingly agree w/Annika!!

    Now off to call my son and see if can talk him in to shedding that longsleeve thermal he is probably wearing in the Dallas brutal heat! How do I know if "that is his attire of choice" you ask?....Believe me....THIS MOTHER KNOWS.....Sighhhhhhh

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  14. I have missed so many "memos" as of late. I'm right there with you. Fortunately my kiddos seem to be very forgiving and it seems to bother me more than it does them. So they say.

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  15. LOL! Obviously Patch is comfortable enough to color outside the lines...I wish there were more people like him!!!

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  16. it's not just that it'll be funny someday, it's pretty funny now. (of course, I say that as his not-mom) And, honest to goodness, "8th grade graduation"??? I roll my eyes each year as my son's school has its "promotion night" where each kiddo "graduates" from their grade and promotes on up to the next. Back in the day, I only remember celebrating high school & college graduation (and truly: I did NOT want to go to my hs grad night - Mom made me. erg.) I've decided I like your kid - in his shorts, collared tshirt and hole-y sneakers - he's my kind of people. ;-)

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  17. It IS funny! It's a pity he had his hair cut!
    He looks so good, just a nice boy in clothes that suits his age!
    Colorful instead of the beige dull clothing of his peers.
    Why should he wear a tie at his age.
    Come on, mum, he looks the best of all the kids!
    Be proud of him!
    Ellen

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  18. Funny someday? It's funny now.. Probably not to you though huh? I absolutely LOVE that it didn't bother him at all.. That's awesome!

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  19. Oh Nancy, I love it! Have you seen this?

    http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2013/05/30/worst-end-of-school-year-mom-ever

    If not, you need to read it now. It will have you laughing so hard and make you feel better about graduation. We have ALL had our shorts/polo shirt moment ~ just in a different way. You are SO not alone. Where would we be on the road of parenthood if we didn't pack our sense of humor for the journey? :)

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  20. I didn't even notice his outfit until after reading your post. lol Don't worry about it, you will laugh at this memory later on. You can start now, because it is a bit funny. Not the boy, but the situation seen from your point of view. Because, just look at him, how relaxed he is. He is awesome! Go Patch!!

    But I do understand perfectly how you felt. I did a couple of fails at my daughter's school and I know how embarassing it is. :)

    Hugs!!!!

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