An open letter to the mom in my neighborhood. Every morning on my way to work I see you at the bus stop. Some days you’re huddling with your two elementary school kids under an umbrella. Some days you’re gamely kicking a soccer ball back and forth with your son. Some days you’re helping your daughter as she grips the leash of your energetic puppy. Some days you barely look awake, standing bleary-eyed in your coat and sweatpants.
Every day, though, you dance.
Whether it’s warm or cold, windy or mild, rain or snow, when your children board the bus, you do your little jig and wave as it slowly pulls away. I can imagine your kids pressed up against the window waving back. Maybe they are excited too. Maybe your son, who looks on the brink of middle school, is mortified and rolls his eyes at you as you shake your hips and flail your arms. Maybe. Or perhaps while outwardly embarrassed, he secretly appreciates the routine, the consistency that every day no matter what else happens, his mom is there with the same 10-second shimmy to show them that she loves them.
Enter parenthood, exit self-respect.
Whether your parent dances in the middle of the street for you (and every other kid) on the morning bus or they bring out the giant American flag to prance on the front lawn, celebrating y’all leaving for the first day of school, it’s the truest display of love. To publicly humiliate yourself for the sake of embarrassing your children, that’s real commitment, folks.
And whether you, the sons and daughters, think it’s funny or cool or instead wish the earth would open and swallow you up to save you from the public shame of having a parent that weird, you will ALWAYS remember it. And you will come to appreciate and know just how much your Mom or Dad or Baba or Grandparents cared.
Chances are, you will be line-dancing, arm-twirling, flag-waving and yoo-hooing at your kids one day too.