‘Why are you so weird?!’
Or, how I am apparently breathing in an embarrassing way
I commit many of them, all day, every day. Or so I’m told. One time, I absentmindedly made a noise. Gosh! I was informed that it was highly annoying. Another time, I quoted the lyrics to a Lizzo song instead of asking her a study question, as I’d been asked to do. Another time, I had THAT look on my face.
Sometimes I just stand stock-still and remain silent. As we all learned from the Jurassic Park franchise, if you do this sometimes you can elude the blood-thirsty dinosaurs that are hunting for you with the white-hot rage of a thousand suns. Or a teenager.
I don’t know when my 13-year-old lost her sense of humor about me. I like to blame everything on her cell phone, though. She used to think I was hilarious. She loved my jokes, my voices and impressions, my singing, my overall goofiness. But when I was no longer her primary source of entertainment, I was suddenly persona non funny. But hey, I’m sure that stranger’s TikTok video is completely hilarious.
She insists I am not funny and none of her friends like me and they all think I’m weird. She doesn’t like when I’m chipper and chatty; she doesn’t like when I’m quiet and crabby. She just doesn’t LIKE.
She has complained about what I say, what I don’t say, what I do, what I don’t do. She doesn’t like it when I’m laid off; she doesn’t like it when I work seven days a week. She complains that I ignore her; she complains I won’t leave her alone.
Recently at her inaugural high school cross-country race, I was cheering her on and when she ran past, she glared at me and said, “STOP.” I have a great photo of her glaring at me for posterity.
My friends further down the line on this parenting thing passionately insist that this phase will be exactly that, and eventually she will not roll her eyes at every exhalation I make.
Until then, I hunker down and vacillate between trying to avoid her wrath and resenting it so much that I actively try to be weird. Like the Lizzo lyrics. If she’s going to be angry at me, I might as well have a good time.
I will continue to talk to and make jokes to strangers at the supermarket. I will sing too loud in the car. I’ll try to make my friends laugh on Facebook with my foibles. And someday in the hopefully soon future, my daughter will be able to relax her shoulders down from her ears and laugh along with me.
But for now, I’m the weird mom.
Kathleen Palmer is an award-winning editor and journalist, marketing/communications content writer and occasional comedic actress. Nothing makes her happier than making people laugh. She is a single mom to a teenager, so naturally she enjoys a glass of wine, or two.