As the conversation continued...one of my boys walked through the living room and went "Ewwwww that is just embarrassing!" WHAT? A parent can't discuss sex with their child? Okay...granted....having that conversation in front of millions might be a bit embarrassing but my guess is....the conversation likely would have gone no better had it just been mom and daughter. Trust me....I have been there. The whole thing though....got me to thinking about the emotion of embarrassment.
If you are a frequent reader of my blogs...then you are likely aware that many of my blogs are about my children. I have been asked more than once if my writing about them embarrasses them. The answer.....most likely! The truth is that my children realized early on that having me and their father as parents was going to be nothing but one long road of embarrassment. Some intentional and some incidental. Tim and I were always of the mind that what doesn't kill you will likely be funny as heck and will teach you never to take yourself too seriously. After Tim died....I guess I felt the need to carry on.
My kids know that having me as a mother has its perks and its downfalls. The perks are free room and board and the downfall is that their behaviors good, bad, funny, sad, rude, amazing or anything in between could end up fodder for one of my blogs. I used to be able to tell when one of my blogs was not taken well...as I would get the silent treatment for awhile. Now though....they either don't read, don't care or God forbid "like" seeing their name in print. Whatever the case...I really think the embarrassment ship has sailed. At least where my blogs are concerned anyway.
Embarrassment though is a pretty powerful emotion if you think about it. Those most easily embarrassed are usually teenagers who have little life experience and feel as if they are the very first ever to go through anything they go through. Granted....sometimes their embarrassment is justifiable. Lifes little inadvertent accidents like laughing too hard and snorting, your stomach growling insatiably in a quiet classroom or finding that you just read your term paper to the class....not knowing that your fly was open and the bull was peeking out.......I believe all of those are Gods way of keeping us humble. Boy or girl....as a teenager....you will at some point in time...feel the uncomfortable heat as your body turns red from your toes to your hair after some beyond your control moment of embarrassment. What is worse is...you simply cannot prepare for it. Of course their is also the embarrassment that to 75% of the population (those not teenagers) would not particularly see as embarrassing....but to the 25% (those that are)...will find mortifying. In most cases...this kind of embarrassment is parent related. This includes but is not limited to: Mom trying to kiss you good bye as you get out of the car. Mom trying to talk to you at the mall if anyone under 25 is in the vicinity. Mom walking through the living room and saying anything if you have friends over, and finally....Dad trying to have a conversation with your friends using words and terms such as "LOL", "foshizzle" and "I'm down wit that!" These are all cases of pure humiliation that seem almost too horrifying to mention and will likely keep your kids in therapy well into their 80's. Or so they think!
As we get older....we learn that embarrassment is relative and subjective. Not everyone embarrasses easily and what was embarrassing at 16 doesn't even phase us after 30. However....even after 30 we are not immune to the occasional moment where hot and red faced.....we can still feel the nasty and unsettling grip of embarrassment. Perhaps we actually do wind up in an important meeting with mismatched shoes....and this time it is not a dream. Or maybe we boldly and foolishly ask the young woman when her baby is due.....only to find out she is not pregnant. Now that is a two for one embarrassing moment. Then there is always our ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong moment only to find the wrong person standing behind you. Or maybe that is just me, but at any rate that can have all kinds of implications....embarrassing and otherwise. One of the worst though...is walking in to find your parents in an ummm.....errrr.....compromising situation. It doesn't matter who you are or how old you are. THAT right there is the top five of the top five embarrassing things that can happen to you. Number one.....I think it is safe to say that we all prefer to believe that we were virgin births, that our parents show affection through a handshake or only the occasional quick hug and that OUR generation (doesn't matter which generation) invented sex......so how in the world can they possibly be doing THAT? Truth be told....that kind of embarrassment actually will end you up in therapy into your 80's!
In this day and age though....I think there is less embarrassment and I am not really sure that is a good thing. Embarrassment means that you have a boundary that when crossed.....causes you discomfort. Zippers unzipped, talking out of turn and horror of horrors....walking in on your parents are all lines that most of us should be embarrassed about crossing.....even accidentally. Also as I said before....embarrassment is the emotion most likely able to keep us humble and teach us that neither life nor ourselves should be taken so seriously. Truthfully...we should always be able to find humor in situations and even laugh at our own faux pas! Some of the greatest life lessons I have learned have been born from embarrassing moments.
So...does it bother me to embarrass my kids? Rarely! In fact there are even times I rather enjoy it. Embarrassment has its place in our lives....uncomfortable or not. It is educational, at times unavoidable and often a building block in our emotional development. It reminds us of our boundaries and it teaches us that no one is immune to the hot flash, followed by a red face and great emotional discomfort in the site of our own words or actions and usually in front of one or more people who are witnesses. For those of you like me....embarrassment teaches the art of a graceful exit and the ability to laugh....even if it means....laughing at myself!