I’ve recently found myself wondering at what age you stop being ‘cool’ in your kids eyes? Camryn is 6 so he still thinks I’m silly and funny and shows me off to his friends as if I’m some prize he won at the fair.
Aiden is 8.5 so it’s a bit trickier with him. He tells me all the time that I’m young. But young doesn’t necessarily mean cool. It’s a start, but I want to be young AND cool.
On the first day of grade 3, Aiden hugged me before he got on the bus. By day 3, he never. He was playing basketball with his friends and when the bus arrived, he grabbed his book bag, yelled BYE MOM and ran off. I will admit, I was caught off guard. It was the first time he never hugged me. I told myself it was a one-time thing but it kept happening. A wave replaced a hug. I wanted to cry. I stood by the bus waving, giving myself a pep talk. Suck it up and move on, Mommy, you knew this day was coming. Plus, silver lining, I still had Camryn, who needs to give me 18 kisses and a dozen hugs before he even considers stepping foot on that bus. So it’s all good. A wave didn’t mean I was any less loved or any less cool. It meant, maybe, he was the cool one now.
In an attempt to be cool, I often play with my kids at the park. Once, they were running up and down the skateboard ramp when Aiden said “Mommy, I bet you can’t do this!” HA! Challenge accepted! On the first attempt, I ran up and sat down next to him. He said the words “I can’t believe you did that! You are so cool!” I should have stopped then and there. I got my cool status. I should have pat myself on the back and left it at that. Oh no, I had to keep showing off. By the 4th time, I lost my grip on the ramp and Aiden had to pull me up. That wasn’t at all embarrassing. I’ve never felt less cool in my life. He didn’t care, he laughed so hard. I just wish there wasn’t video footage.
Another time at the playground, they were running up the stairs and back down the fireman pole. There were no friends around so it was the perfect opportunity for me to impress them. Easy peasy I thought as I yelled, “Guys! Watch me!’ I proceeded to run up the stairs as fast as I could, but when I stepped off the edge and wrapped my legs around the pole my skin stuck and I barely moved an inch. I was stuck. On a pole. I started laughing and yelling ‘Aiden! HELP!’ He helped alright, by grabbing my phone and taking a picture. Once I shimmied my way down, I walked away with two instant bruises- one on my leg and one on my ego. I blamed the shorts I was wearing. Next time I wear pants.
I can race to the top of the rope pyramid structure at any playground but then I usually stumble on the way down. Lose my footing and face plant on the pavement below. One more notch off the cool meter. I can get on the swings and see who can go higher, but then I feel motion sick and have to stop. I can see my cool mom badge disappearing in thin air almost every time we step foot at a playground. I needed to try something else!
Dance! One thing I don’t have is two left feet so I attempted to win them over with my dancing skills. They’ve been seeing me dance since they were in diapers but now that they are starting to dance, that changes the game. Aiden shows me his Fortnite dances and I try my best to imitate. He can’t believe I know and can do ‘Fresh’. Haha, I didn’t tell him that I call it ‘the Carlton’ from Fresh Prince of the Bel Air. Instead, I just roll with it. I’ve also mastered the Floss. Aiden is super impressed, so much so that we make a video of us doing a floss competition. He realizes that maybe he didn’t win and gets pissed off, never asking me to do it again.
The other day he was singing a song that has been around since I was in high school. He thinks it’s new and was shocked that I knew all the words. I keep it a secret that it’s an old song from the 90’s because for 10 seconds I AM HIP.
Last week I even attempted to beat box and apparently he thinks I can. I was just repeatedly saying the words ‘beats and cats’ over and over but to him, I was beat boxing. I hear him tell his friends “you should hear my mom beat box”. I stifle a smile and find myself practicing my beat boxing whenever I’m alone so he doesn’t figure out that I actually have no sweet clue what I’m doing but what I do know is that I am most definitely NOT beat boxing.
Somewhere around Christmas time, Aiden changed his mind and decided that all his hugs weren’t reserved for home. I’ll never forget the cold, snowy day. He was standing with his friends and when the bus arrived I started waving, used to our new habit. I was busy trying to detach Camryn from my body when I saw two legs in front of me. He had walked back off the bus and over to me to give me a hug. I opened my arms and he nuzzled into me. “I love you, Mom. Have a good day”, he said. One kiss and he smiled and ran off.
Okay, Sonya, act cool. Now is the time to prove just how cool you are. Keep your composure and for heaven’s sake do not cry. Do you hear me?? Do NOT cry. It’s a hug. Don’t make a big deal. So I smiled and bit the inside of my lip until it bled and said ‘thanks bud, I love you too’. I waved as he got back on the bus. After the bus doors closed, tears streamed down my face, and blood down my lip. Maybe it was for him, or maybe it was for me, but that was the day the hugs started again. He hasn’t stopped since. I don’t think he was ready for them to end. I wasn’t either. But either way, I realized that day that those hugs have nothing to do with how cool he thinks I am.
Things are changing. My kids are growing up. The things that impressed them before are no longer working. Come on kids, give me a break! Don’t you see me here wearing my skinny jeans? Carrying around my (knock off) Kate Spade clutch? Throwing around words like ‘legit’, ‘epic’ and ‘dude’ on a regular basis, cut me some slack here. I’m a cool mom. Aren’t I? Hell yes, I am. I am a COOL mom.
Except, I’m not. Cool. Not really.
And I’m slowly coming to terms with that. I’ve realized that they don’t need me to be cool. They just need ME. To play with them, sing with them, dance with them, be with them and hug them. They don’t both try to squeeze onto my lap when we watch a movie because of my level of coolness, they do that because they love me. And that’s more important to me than being ‘cool’.
I may never be cool. But I will always be their mom. And let’s be honest here …..everyone knows that being cool is highly overrated.
I’d much rather be myself.