So it happened.
It was one of those moments you hear about from parents of older children, but you hope won’t happen to you. My oldest son, Jacob, was embarrassed to be seen with me.
It makes sense of course, and is totally age appropriate. He actually turns 13 tomorrow. But still I felt shock and dismay when he told me in no uncertain terms not to pick him up from a family friend’s bat mitzvah party this weekend.
He’s been a playa with the ladies since he was 5– practicing the art of flirting with his kindergarten teacher and mastering it in recent years with a regular gaggle of preteen girls. I get why he doesn’t want me weakening his game.
But he and I have a special relationship. He’s a talker– like his mom– so he frequently confides in me about friends, school, and girls, and seems to value my opinion. I have a nice bond with his gang of boys and they’re always eager to chat when I see them, so I can’t be a complete loser among his peers.
He had a basketball game and had to leave the party early so I was going to bring him his uniform and pop in for 5 minutes to say mazel tov to the event hosts. But Jacob was having none of it. Our text conversation went something like this:
Cool mom: I’m going to bring your stuff at 240p.
Mortified son: NO! I have nowhere to put it. and you’re not invited. You’re not coming. Seriously, that’s so annoying.
Cool mom: I’m coming for 5 minutes.
Mortified son: Well, I’ll be gone. Bring it to the game. Don’t come. What is your problem? I don’t want you here.
Cool mom: I’ll be there at 2p and I’ll only stay for an hour. I’m wearing a bikini and carrying sparklers and balloons. See you soon!!!
Mortified son: Be quiet don’t come!
Cool mom: Go have fun at the party.
Mortified son: Meet me at the game.
Cool mom: Love you too!!
When I got there, he was leaving and barely acknowledged me as I handed him his bag.
It’s funny. But it’s also a moment that changes everything. His face no longer lights up when I walk in a room. He doesn’t want to share his world with me the way he once did. He’s growing up.
Next weekend our whole family was invited to another bar mitzvah and Jacob is pissed. He actually demanded we decline the invitation so he can hang with his friends without us invading his space.
I told him– in the kindest of ways– that we were actually looking forward to cocktails and dancing with our friends and didn’t plan to cramp his style. We had to promise we won’t approach or speak to him when he’s with his friends.
The bargaining over our family’s “appropriate behavior” in front of his friends got so eye-rollingly ridiculous that we started torturing him for sport. Every day for a week, Wilson would yell “Hey Jacob, how do you like my moves?” and then dance like a freak, to the howls and giggles of his brothers….and then “Bet you can’t wait to see me on the dance floor at the party!”
Jacob is not happy.
His only saving grace to the whole family being invited to this party is that his 7-year-old brother, Eli, is the greatest wing man ever. There’ll be girls all over him.
But Jacob still wishes we’d just stay home.
I get it. I was 13 once too. So I’ll try my hardest not to embarrass him next weekend and only peek in his direction when I know he’s not looking.
And hope that he still tells me all about it when we get home.