A couple weeks ago I ranted and kvetched about how there needs to be a time when you should stop bringing your parents to movie theaters due to their embarrassing behavior.
My mother-in-law responded with, "Watch it, Dad. It'll sneak up on you, too."
I started thinking about it. I'm not that guy yet, surely not. I'm way too enlightened to ever become that guy. Right? C'mon...right?
Carefully, I audited my behavior in theaters, out in public, restaurants, at church this Easter when my mom emotionally blackmailed me and my daughter into attending. And...and...
Oh, crap! I am that guy!
In retrospect, my behavior at church had been pretty sucktacular. I imagined Baptists wanted to lynch me, conduct a good ol' fashioned, down-home, cross fry on my lawn.
I can't say I blamed them.
During my excruciating stay in church, I made no secret about how I didn't want to be there. Sullen like a teen, I sighed, constantly checked the time on my phone, nudged and whispered to my daughter. I over-exaggerated the "polite chuckle" thing at the pastor's attempts at humor. Just trying to be the funny dad. You know...like in the good, old days. When my daughter thought I was actually hilarious and could do no wrong.
Sigh... Sad thing was I hadn't even realized how crappy I'd behaved until my daughter pointed it out to me. On Father's Day of all days.
She said, "Oh my God, you were worse than a little kid at church!"
When did everything change? When did I transform into my dad? When did I stop being the most important person in my daughter's world?
That last question can probably be traced back to many Halloweens ago...
"What're you dressing as on Halloween this year?" I asked.
"Slutty Red Riding Hood."
My daughter and I had crossed a bridge that day, one I barely wobbled across. The Halloween before, my daughter would've been content as good, ol' what-the-hell's-wrong-with, plain-Jane, clean-cut, innocent Red Riding Hood.
But things change. Kids grow. And we, as parents, apparently revert back to awful, childish behavior by still trying to make our kids laugh in the most embarrassing ways.
Now I kinda get what my dad had been going for when he struck up an extremely loud, particularly unfunny, conversation with the characters on-screen last time I took him to the theater.
(Hanging head in shame...)